To date, 538 people have been infected by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The number of reported cases have dramatically increased since mid-March 2014, according to health officials at the WHO and CDC.
MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The virus causes an acute respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath. Thirty percent of sufferers have died. The virus is passed along through close contact. On May 2, 2014, the first U.S. case of MERS was confirmed in a traveler from Saudi Arabia, who recovered. On May 12, 2014, officials announced a second case, in a person who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Orlando, Florida.
The median age of persons infected is 49 years old. Sixy-nine percent of cases are in males. Ninteen percent of cases are in health-care workers.