Caused by a coronavirus, this lung infection originated in 2012 on the Arabian Peninsula. As of May, 2014, MERS has infected more than 530 people worldwide and killed 145. In May evidence was presented that the first case had been spread from one person to anther inside the US, possibly from a handshake. An Illinois man had 2 brief business meetings with the first US MERS patient, an Indiana man who lived in Saudi Arabia.
A lot is still not understood about this virus – including how widely it could spread in the US. All active cases are currently in the Middle East.
Symptoms. most have flu-like signs, such as fever, cough and chills, and have difficulty breathing. People present from mild to the more severe and 20% are completely asymptomatic.
Treatment. There are no drugs or vaccines. Healthy people with strong immune systems are better able to fight off milder infections.
June 2015. An outbreak of MERS is the largest yet outside of the mIddle East with 30 confirmed cases and two deaths. 1,300 have been quarantined and 500 schools closed trying to contain the outbreak.