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Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, is a viral disease that can cause lung infection and kidney failure in humans. It is transmitted from camels and bats to humans. It can also be transmitted by human-to-human contact.

Learn About Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

MERS primarily causes infection of the lungs and affects breathing. It may also cause damage to the kidneys and other organs.

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Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

The MERS virus causes a flu-like disease with pneumonia in most cases. However, it is important to distinguish it from other diseases with similar symptoms. A history of travel to affected areas, particularly the Middle East, and contact with patients known to be infected with the MERS virus are helpful for early detection.

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Diagnosing and Treating Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

While early diagnosis of MERS is important for preventing complications and viral spread, many patients are not diagnosed initially, and usually develop more severe illness.

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Recovering from Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Patients with MERS may have mild to severe disease. Younger patients without prior medical problems usually do well and recover completely. Patients with severe disease may require longer hospitalizations and have a higher risk of death.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

People in the United States who did not travel to areas where MERS usually occurs are at very low risk of infection. However, if you develop new respiratory symptoms or fever and have recently traveled, lived or come in contact with someone in one of these areas, you should see your healthcare provider. Here are some questions to ask.

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This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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