Middle East Network: MERS Coronavirus

CORDS Project

The Middle East Network, MECIDS, has developed a platform of collaboration that has proved to be instrumental when addressing regional emerging infectious diseases such as foodborne diseases, avian and pandemic influenza and the recent circulation of wild poliovirus.

Currently MECIDS and CORDS are using this platform in a joint effort to enhance surveillance on Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the region, a viral respiratory disease.

We are working together to:

  • Harmonize laboratory diagnosis of the disease and to establish tools to improve the sensitivity of diagnosis.
  • Develop national and regional active surveillance of MERS-CoV.
  • Perform studies to quantify the extent of exposure and infection with the virus.
  • Determine the extent of of MERS-CoV of camels in Israel, Jordan and Palestine.
  • Continuously exchange surveillance data

Specifically, we have been collecting personal data and blood samples from Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Islamic pilgrims returning from the Hajj in Mecca. This project, in the spirit of One Health, includes veterinarians among the research teams.

In May 2014 400 patients were identified from 12 countries, with a case fatality rate of 23%. Most cases were reported from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait. Spread outside the Middle East has been reported and includes cases in France, Germany, Italy, United States, Tunisia and Malaysia.

Currently Saudi Arabia is experiencing an upsurge in cases associated with human to human transmission in the health care setting. In addition dromedary camels have been found to carry the virus and have been suspected as the cause of some human cases.

The project will look for antibodies to the virus at our central laboratories and will send serum samples for confirmation to The Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Commenced January 1, 2015
Status Ongoing