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What are the common symptoms of MERS?

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Quick Answer

The symptoms of Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS) can include coughing, fever, breathing problems, diarrhea and nausea. In some patients, more serious symptoms can develop as the result of complications, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Full Answer

MERS-CoV, or coronavirus, causes this respiratory illness that presents cold-like symptoms. This virus belongs to the same family responsible for the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), as noted by the World Health Organization. The first case of MERS was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. From that time, other parts of the world, which also have reported cases, are Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Mild MERS symptoms can be similar to the common cold, and most people do recover without incident. In some cases, patients with MERS do not have any symptoms; however, complications of a severe MERS infection can lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure, septic shock and kidney failure. Approximately 30 percent of patients with MERS have died, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms of this disease can be more severe in patients with compromised immune systems or with certain medical conditions, such as respiratory issues, diabetes or kidney disease.

Symptoms often manifest about 6 days after exposure to the MERS virus. However, in other patients, the incubation period ranges from 2 to 14 days. Transmission of this disease is possible through very close contact with an infected person.

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