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Communicable Disease: MERS Outbreak In September of 2012, beginning in the country of Saudi Arabia, hospitals began seeing increased cases of a respiratory virus never before seen in humans. They named it Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS. MERS is a viral respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. It was originally thought to have started there in Saudi Arabia. It was not until later that they were able to trace the origin back to Jordan starting in April of 2012. All outbreaks of MERS have been traced back to originating from the Arabian Peninsula (CDC, 2015a). Unfortunately, it is not known exactly how MERS was contracted in humans, but it is believed to have come from an animal source, probably from camels. Strains of MERS have been identified in camels in Middle East (WHO, 2015).
MERS can infect anyone, at any age and it has been found that approximately 3 to 4 out of every 10 people die when contracting this disease (CDC, 2015a). MERS has been confirmed in ten different countries in or around the Arabian Peninsula and in seventeen different countries outside of the peninsula. The countries affected outside of the peninsula are believed to have had cases due to travelers coming from the peninsula (CDC, 2015b).
MERS Timeline MERS was first seen in Zarqa, Jordan in April of 2012 in an outbreak at a hospital. It was not recognized at that time as being MERS. They found at least ten people were infected and two of those people died. In June of 2012, a man in Jidda, Saudi Arabia was admitted to the hospital with a respiratory condition. This man died later that month and specimens of his sputum were sent off for analysis. From this analysis, the MERS coronavirus was discovered. In September 2012, this same virus was found in London, England in a man from Qatar. In November of 2012, Saudi Arabia announced that it found a family of four who had been…...

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