What is MERS

  • The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been known since April 2012.
  • It occurs predominantly on the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Saudi Arabia.
  • The virus causes flu-like symptoms. In the worst case, pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome or kidney failure.
  • There is no specific therapy against MERS-CoV, so the focus of treatment can only be limited to alleviating the symptoms.


  • The MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) comes from the coronavirus family and was first identified in 2012.
  • The virus originated on the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Saudi Arabia.
  • Cases of illness occurred mainly in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar and South Korea. Also in isolated cases in France, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Egypt, USA, Netherlands, Austria, Turkey, Germany and the United Kingdom.
  • So far there is no official Germanized name for the disease. Translated, the abbreviation stands for "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus".


  • The infection usually goes unnoticed or with mild flu-like symptoms.
  • If the disease develops in the course of the disease, it can lead to a severe infection of the lungs (pneumonia), an acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure.
  • People with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer or immune deficiencies are particularly at risk.
  • The incubation period is usually one to two weeks.
  • There is no specific therapy against MERS-CoV, so the treatment of the sick can only focus on alleviating the symptoms.


  • Bats are assumed to be the primary host, which in turn infect dromedaries. The viruses can be transmitted to humans by dromedaries.
  • The viruses can also be transmitted from person to person via droplet infection and smear infection. Above all, the nasal secretions and the secretions from the upper respiratory tract are infectious, which are passed on by coughing or sneezing through contaminated hands (contaminated with pathogens).


  • There are no specific protective measures.
  • When traveling to the Arabian Peninsula, contact with dromedaries and their stables should be avoided, as well as visiting camel markets.
  • Refrain from consuming raw or incompletely heated camel products.