What Critical Care and Emergency Medicine Clinicians Need to Know about MERS

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released recommendations regarding Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Critical care and emergency medicine clinicians should be alert for patients who:

  • Develop severe acute lower respiratory illness within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, excluding those who only transited at airports in the region; or
  • Are close contacts of a symptomatic recent traveler from this area who has fever and acute respiratory illness; or
  • Are close contacts of a confirmed case

Clusters of patients with severe acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever and pneumonia requiring hospitalization) without recognized links to cases of MERS-CoV or to travelers from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula should be evaluated for common respiratory pathogens. If the illnesses remain unexplained, providers should consider testing for MERS-CoV, in consultation with state and local health departments. Healthcare professionals should immediately report to their state or local health department any person being evaluated for MERS-CoV infection as a patient under investigation.

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