MERS-CoV: clinical management and guidance

Guidance on investigating Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), public health management of suspected UK cases and advice to travellers.

MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory disease. It is a new strain of coronavirus first identified by the Netherlands in 2012. A similar strain in the UK was identified by Public Heath England’s virus reference laboratories at Colindale. The virus was fully sequenced and detailed analysis indicates that the nearest relatives are bat coronaviruses.

Symptoms include fever and cough that progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In some cases, a diarrheal illness has been the first symptom to appear.

There is insufficient information to make generic treatment recommendations and patients have to be assessed on a case by case basis. There is no vaccine available for MERS-CoV.


Public health management

NHS England in partnership with the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive reissued guidance on the use of surgical facemasks and FFP3 respirators, to be used when caring for patients with a suspected or confirmed infectious respiratory virus. Visit the NHS England website for further information

Published 24 September 2012
Last updated 20 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added 'MERS-CoV: advice for people visiting healthcare settings' to the collection.

  2. Added 'MERS-CoV: advice for people travelling to the Middle East'.

  3. A link to the MERS-CoV: infographics for travellers from the Middle East page can be found under Public Health management.

  4. Added clinical diagnostic laboratory specimen handling and processing under diagnosis.

  5. First published.