Skip to Content

Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)


Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is sometimes called the Middle East coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Coronavirus is the name of a group of viruses. The viruses are common and usually cause mild infections, such as a cold. MERS may lead to severe, life-threatening problems. The virus damages the air sacs of the lungs, and they become inflamed and scarred. The damaged air sacs do not allow oxygen to get into your bloodstream, leading to respiratory failure. Respiratory failure means you cannot breathe well enough to get oxygen to the cells of your body. Your risk for severe symptoms is higher if you have a weak immune system. A health condition such as diabetes or a lung disease also increases your risk.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Breathing support:

You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. You may also need a machine, called a ventilator, to help you breathe.

Contact and droplet isolation

measures will be taken to help prevent the MERS virus from spreading to other people. Healthcare providers will wear gloves, mask, and a gown. Everyone should wash their hands with germ-killing soap after touching you or leaving your room. You may be in a room by yourself. Items you use will not be shared with others.


may be given to treat the viral infection or reduce your symptoms.


  • Blood tests are used to monitor your condition and your kidney function, and to get information about your overall health.
  • A sample of fluid will be collected from your nose, throat, or lungs and tested for the MERS virus.


MERS may lead to a lung infection, severe lung disorders, or a severe infection called sepsis. It may also increase your risk for a bleeding disorder or kidney failure.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.