Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory infection caused by a novel strain of coronavirus first identified in September 2012 and called MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV). MERS-CoV is genetically distinct from the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak.
So far, all the cases have been linked to countries in the Middle East. People who have been infected with MERS-CoV in the Middle East have also been identified in other countries, including Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Tunisia, Germany, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia, the Philippines Greece and the Republic of Korea( South Korea).
No cases have been identified in Australia. This virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact but to date there has been no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission in communities.
MERS coronavirus infection is a notifiable disease in NSW.