The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an official CDC Health Advisory on Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in response to the recent outbreak in South Korea.
The advisory is intended to “provide updated guidance to state health departments and healthcare providers in the evaluation of patients for MERS-CoV infection, which have been revised in light of the current situation in the Republic of Korea.”
The advisory continues:
Healthcare providers and public health officials should maintain awareness of the need to consider MERS-CoV infection in ill persons who have recently traveled from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula or in the Republic of Korea as outlined in the guidance below.
Healthcare providers should continue to routinely ask their patients about their travel history and healthcare facility exposure and to consider a diagnosis of MERS-CoV infection in persons who meet the criteria for patient under investigation (PUI), which has been revised to include considerations of recently being in a Korean healthcare facility and is available at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/case-def.html.
Specifically, persons who meet the following updated criteria for PUI should be evaluated for MERS-CoV infection in addition to other common respiratory pathogens and reported immediately to state and local health departments:
- Fever AND pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (based on clinical or radiologic evidence) AND one of the following:
- A history of travel from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula within 14 days before symptom onset, OR close contact with a symptomatic traveler who developed fever and acute respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia) within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, OR
- A history of being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker, or visitor) in the Republic of Korea within 14 days before symptom onset, OR
- A member of a cluster of patients with severe acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever and pneumonia requiring hospitalization) of unknown etiology in which MERS-CoV is being evaluated, in consultation with state and local health departments in the US;
- Fever AND symptoms of respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia; e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND a history of being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker, or visitor) within 14 days before symptom onset in a country or territory in or near the Arabian Peninsula in which recent healthcare-associated cases of MERS have been identified;
- Fever OR symptoms of respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia; e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND close contact with a confirmed MERS case while the case was ill.