Family cluster of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infections

N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 27;368(26):2487-94. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1303729. Epub 2013 May 29.


A human coronavirus, called the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), was first identified in September 2012 in samples obtained from a Saudi Arabian businessman who died from acute respiratory failure. Since then, 49 cases of infections caused by MERS-CoV (previously called a novel coronavirus) with 26 deaths have been reported to date. In this report, we describe a family case cluster of MERS-CoV infection, including the clinical presentation, treatment outcomes, and household relationships of three young men who became ill with MERS-CoV infection after the hospitalization of an elderly male relative, who died of the disease. Twenty-four other family members living in the same household and 124 attending staff members at the hospitals did not become ill. MERS-CoV infection may cause a spectrum of clinical illness. Although an animal reservoir is suspected, none has been discovered. Meanwhile, global concern rests on the ability of MERS-CoV to cause major illness in close contacts of patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology*
  • Coronavirus / classification
  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle East
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Radiography
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Saudi Arabia