Health care providers should be aware of the signs of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), according to interim guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The interim guidance includes criteria for who should be evaluated for MERS-CoV infecton, including those who have had close contact with a person with a confirmed case of MERS-CoV and are showing signs of either fever or respiratory illness. Other criteria include signs of fever and pneumonia in conjunction with one of the following:
- history of travel in or near the Arabian Peninsula within 14 days of symptom presentation
- close contact with someone displaying symptoms who has been to the Arabian Peninsula within 14 days of symptom presentation
- history of being in a health care facility in South Korea within 14 days of symptom presentation
- member of a cluster of patients diagnosed with severe acute respiratory illness, in consultation with state and local health departments
The interim MERS-CoV guidance includes instructions for providers on reporting a MERS-CoV evaluation to state and local health departments and instructions for conducting laboratory testing and infection control while evaluating potential MERS-CoV cases.
MERS-CoV, which can be fatal, was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to several other countries, including South Korea. The CDC will continue to monitor the spread of MERS-CoV and will update its infection control guidance in the coming days.
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