The epidemiology of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2012-2015

Abdullah J. Alsahafi, Allen C. Cheng

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to review the epidemiology of cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) reported in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 2012 when the first MERS-CoV was confirmed up to July 2015. Methods: MERS-CoV data were obtained from the Saudi Ministry of Health for the period 2012 to July 2015. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the results regarding the risk factors and mortality of MERS-CoV infection. Results: In this series, the risk factors and outcomes of 939 cases of MERS-CoV occurring in the last 3 years are described. The majority of the affected patients were aged ≥40 years (n = 657; 70%). Of the 657 patients aged ≥40 years, 377 (57.3%) died. Conclusions: The case-fatality ratio was found to increase significantly with age. It ranged from 12.5% in those aged ≤19 years to 86.2% in those aged ≥80 years. The results confirmed the association between severe MERS-CoV illness and patients with a pre-existing health morbidity. The duration from symptom onset to admission was not statistically associated with the disease outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus infections
  • Epidemiology
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
  • Risk factors

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