Coronaviruses: SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV

In recent years two Coronaviruses (CoV) have emerged as a health threat to humans. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is caused by the SARS-CoV and was a serious global health threat in early 2003. During that outbreak, which mainly occurred in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Canada, 774 patients died and 8,098 cases were recorded.

In June of 2012, another Coronavirus infection was diagnosed in the Middle East.  The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) is a severe respiratory illness with transmission occurring through close personal contacts of active cases. Since 2012 to the time of print, there have been 1626 laboratory confirmed cases had been notified to the World Health Organization from 26 countries, mostly from Saudi Arabia, with a case- fatality rate of 57%.


Coronaviruses often cause severe respiratory illness, although other body systems can be affected as well. People with underlying chronic conditions may be more at risk. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. Severe cases can develop into pneumonia.


Stringent personal hygiene, regularly washing hands with soap, avoiding touching your mouth, nose and eyes, and avoidance of human cases.