Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. It spreads through close contact. This includes caring for or living with an infected person. Most cases of MERS occur in or near the Arabian Peninsula.

There have been no cases of MERS in NYC.

If you get a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days after traveling in the Arabian Peninsula, contact your health care provider and mention your recent travel.


Symptoms of MERS typically include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People with pre-existing conditions may experience more severe symptoms.


There is currently no vaccine to protect people against MERS or any other coronavirus. To help reduce your risk of getting respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.


There is no treatment for MERS. A health care provider can provide treatment for symptoms.

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