Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS): a new zoonotic viral pneumonia.Virulence. 2014 Aug 15; 5(6):650-4.V
Coronaviruses have traditionally been associated with mild upper respiratory tract infections throughout the world. In the fall of 2002, a new coronavirus emerged in in Asia causing severe viral pneumonia, i.e., severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Nearly a decade following the SARS epidemic, a new coronavirus causing severe viral pneumonia has emerged, i.e., middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS). Since the initial case of MERS-CoV occurred in June of 2012 in Saudi Arabia there have been 688 confirmed cases and 282 deaths in 20 countries. Although both SARS and MERS are caused by coronaviruses, SARS was characterized by efficient human transmission and relatively low mortality rate. In contrast, MERS is relatively inefficiently transmitted to humans but has a high mortality rate. Given the potential overlap in presentation and manifestation, it is important to understand the clinical and epidemiologic differences between MERS, SARS and influenza.