Last Updated on Apr 29, 2014

Treatment and Prevention of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Symptomatic treatment is the only way to manage MERS as there are no known drugs to counter the MERS-CoV. Prevention of MERS is important to avoid the distress and alleviate the sufferings that MERS infection brings.

Treatment for MERS infection is basically symptomatic. Currently, there is no vaccine or drugs available to treat the disease. The aim of the treatment is to prevent complications and relieve the symptoms. Adequate rest, hydration, pain management and treating fever are some of the measures taken to manage the patient with MERS infection.

The patients with severe disease usually require oxygen supplementation, mechanical ventilation and intensive-care unit support. The management of MERS patients is done by infectious-disease experts, pulmonary and critical-care specialists.

The prognosis of MERS is poor and currently has about 50% mortality, as the disease progresses very rapidly once a person is infected.

Prevention of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

There is no known vaccine for MERS. However, it is recommended to stay up-to-date with the regular vaccination schedule, especially, prior to traveling overseas.

MERS can be prevented as it does not seem to spread as easily or rapidly as the other diseases caused by coronavirus. Simple hygiene measures ensure that travelers to the Arabian countries do not contract the disease.

  • Wash hands frequently with soap
  • If soap is not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Use a tissue or kerchief to cover nose and mouth while sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with infected persons.
  • Do not share spoons and other eating utensils.
  • Practice safe food and water precautions.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces like toys, taps, door handles, etc.
  • Travelers must be aware of and learn to identify symptoms of flu-like illness and seek medical help if suspicion arises.
  • People with existing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and kidney disease are more prone to MERS. So, essential precautions must be taken.
  • Camels and bats are suspected to be carriers of the MERS virus. So, close contact with the animals must be avoided.


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