Information For Health Professionals on
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Clinicians should call MDH (651-201-5414) when evaluating a patient that meets the following criteria:

Severe illness

  • Fever AND pneumonia OR Acute respiratory distress syndrome (based on clinical or radiological evidence)
    AND one of the following:
    • A history of travel from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula* within 14 days before symptom onset
      OR
    • Close contact with a symptomatic traveler who developed fever and acute respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia) within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula*
      OR
    • A history of being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker, or visitor) in the Republic of Korea within 14 days before symptom onset OR
    • A member of a cluster of patients with severe acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever and pneumonia requiring hospitalization) of unknown etiology in which MERS-CoV is being evaluated, in consultation with state and local health departments in the US.

Milder illness

  • Fever AND symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath; not necessarily pneumonia) AND A history of being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker, or visitor) within 14 days before symptom onset in a country or territory in or near the Arabian Peninsula* in which recent healthcare-associated cases of MERS have been identified.
    OR
  • Fever or symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath; not necessarily pneumonia) and close contact with a confirmed MERS case while the case was ill.

*The Arabian Peninsula includes: Bahrain; Iraq; Iran; Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and Yemen.

Case Definition

Reporting, Specimen Collection, and Testing

  • Contact MDH to report suspect cases and to arrange testing prior to specimen submission. Providers should call MDH at 651-201-5414 or toll-free at 1-877-676-5414 to report suspect cases.

  • Specimen Collection and Testing for MERS-CoV

Infection Prevention and Control

  • Patients meeting MERS-CoV criteria above should be placed in Airborne and Contact Precautions, in addition to Standard Precautions. This includes an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (i.e., negative pressure room) and N95 respirators and eye protection or PAPRs for health care workers. Patient should wear a surgical mask if leaving negative pressure room. If negative pressure room is not available, place patient in a private room with the door closed and patient should wear a surgical mask.

  • Limit the number of health care workers exposed to the patient.

  • Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with MERS-CoV
    Infection prevention and control recommendations for confirmed, probable, or cases under investigation. Update, case definitions, and guidance. Attention: Non-MDH link

Personal Protective Equipment

Treatment

  • To date, there is no known treatment available for MERS-CoV.

Updated Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 11:44AM