A new study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publication, Emerging Infectious Diseasessuggest a number of risk factors for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) illness.


According to the abstract, Saudi Arabia and United States researchers write:

Risk factors for primary Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) illness in humans are incompletely understood. We identified all primary MERS-CoV cases reported in Saudi Arabia during March–November 2014 by excluding those with history of exposure to other cases of MERS-CoV or acute respiratory illness of unknown cause or exposure to healthcare settings within 14 days before illness onset.

Using a case–control design, we assessed differences in underlying medical conditions and environmental exposures among primary case-patients and 2–4 controls matched by age, sex, and neighborhood. Using multivariable analysis, we found that direct exposure to dromedary camels during the 2 weeks before illness onset, as well as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and smoking, were each independently associated with MERS-CoV illness. Further investigation is needed to better understand animal-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV.

Concerning zoonotic transmission of MERS-CoV, exposure to bats, goats, horses, sheep, or the products of these animals were not associated with MERS CoV illness in the study.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a newly recognized respiratory pathogen first identified in a patient from Saudi Arabia in June 2012. MERS-CoV causes acute respiratory disease that has a high case-fatality rate. All cases have been linked to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula; >85% of cases have been reported from Saudi Arabia.

As of 5 November, 1,637 cases of MERS, including 632 deaths, have been reported by local health authorities worldwide.