Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Warning issued on Middle East respiratory syndrome

Coloured transmission electron micrograph of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus particles


The first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012

Travellers are being warned about the risks associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Public Health England (PHE) is also asking community pharmacists to refer customers who have visited the Middle East within the past 14 days to their GP or the NHS 111 helpline if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

PHE’s head of respiratory diseases, Nick Phin, reassured the public that the risk of anybody contracting the disease in the UK “remains very low”.

“While it’s unlikely pharmacists would come into contact with suspected MERS cases, we would advise they remain vigilant for symptoms,” he says.

PHE has advised travellers to the Middle East to avoid camels, their milk and meat. Good hand hygiene should also be observed.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), on 28 May, there were 636 confirmed cases of Mers-CoV, including 193 fatalities, since the first case was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There were 17 confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia alone between 16 and 18 May.

The WHO’s advice is for health organisations to be on the lookout for any symptoms of severe acute respiratory infections and to “review any unusual patterns”. Infection protection and control measures should be routinely practised in any suspected MERS-CoV cases because it is not always possible to confirm the virus at an early stage, it says.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138822

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

RPS publications

Pharmaceutical Press is the publishing division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and is a leading provider of authoritative pharmaceutical information used throughout the world.


Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Coloured transmission electron micrograph of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus particles

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.