• 1 Specialty Internal Medicine Unit, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Quality and Patient Safety Department, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA; Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:
  • 2 College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Medicine, Prince Mohamed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital ("PMAH"), Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
Am J Infect Control, 2019 Oct;47(10):1167-1170.
PMID: 31128983 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.04.007


BACKGROUND: An important emerging respiratory virus is the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). MERS-CoV had been associated with a high case fatality rate especially among severe cases.

METHODS: This is a retrospective analysis of reported MERS-CoV cases between December 2016 and January 2019, as retrieved from the World Health Organization. The aim of this study is to examine the epidemiology of reported cases and quantify the percentage of health care workers (HCWs) among reported cases.

RESULTS: There were 403 reported cases with a majority being men (n = 300; 74.4%). These cases were reported from Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. HCWs represented 26% and comorbidities were reported among 71% of non-HCWs and 1.9% among HCWs (P < .0001). Camel exposure and camel milk ingestion were reported in 64% each, and the majority (97.8%) of those with camel exposures had camel milk ingestion. There were 58% primary cases and 42% were secondary cases. The case fatality rate was 16% among HCWs compared with 34% among other patients (P = .001). The mean age ± SD was 47.65 ± 16.28 for HCWs versus 54.23 ± 17.34 for non-HCWs (P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: MERS-CoV infection continues to have a high case fatality rate and a large proportion of patients were HCWs. Further understanding of the disease transmission and prevention mainly in health care settings are needed.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.