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August 25, 2015

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: A Global Health Challenge

Author Affiliations
  • 1O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
  • 2Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2015;314(8):771-772. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.7646

In May 2013, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan warned that a novel coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), posed “a threat to the entire world.”1 Her warning was prescient. As of June 12, 2015, WHO had been notified of 1289 individuals with laboratory-confirmed infections in 25 countries, of whom at least 455 individuals (37%) had died.2 More than 85% of cases have been diagnosed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.