MERS and travel to the Middle East

There’s a new virus that health organizations around the world are keeping a close watch. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus and first reported in Saudia Arabia last year. Most people who get the infection develop severe acute respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. What’s concerning is that about half of these people died. The virus is spread by being in close contact with someone who has it.

So far, there haven’t been any reported cases of MERS in the United States. But the reality is that a virus like MERS is just a plane ride away. If you’ve recently been to the Middle East or have been in contact with someone who has traveled there and you develop fever and other symptoms, see your health care provider and tell her about the recent travel.

Visit the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information about MERS. Read our article on safe travel.

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