The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) – What is the Risk? A Review of Recent Studies

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MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a viral disease of the respiratory system caused by coronaviruses (CoV), which can be contagious to both animals and humans. It was first described in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and very quickly its occurrence was found in European countries. Initially, it was associated with mild changes within the respiratory system, until a new type of virus was isolated in a patient with severe pneumonia and renal failure, who died. The study showed a close relationship between the virus isolated from the patient’s cells with HKU4 and HKU5 coronaviruses, previously isolated from bats. The presence of the same virus was found in a patient from Qatar with a similar clinical image. MERS infections, despite relatively low infectivity, are characterized by high mortality (30%). It is believed that the most likely source of the virus for humans are camels. The objective of this article is to review and discuss data on the risk factors of MERS-CoV zoonotic transmission from animals to humans.

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