Post-exposure prophylaxis for Middle East respiratory syndrome in healthcare workers

J Hosp Infect. 2019 Jan;101(1):42-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2018.09.005. Epub 2018 Sep 18.


An effective post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) strategy may limit the spread of infection. However, there is no consensus regarding PEP for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. This study assessed the efficacy of ribavirin and lopinavir/ritonavir as PEP for healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to patients with severe MERS-CoV pre-isolation pneumonia. The safety of the PEP regimen was assessed. HCWs with high-risk exposure to MERS-CoV pre-isolation pneumonia were retrospectively enrolled. HCWs who received PEP therapy were classified into the PEP group. PEP therapy was associated with a 40% decrease in the risk of infection. There were no severe adverse events during PEP therapy.

Keywords: Healthcare worker; High-risk exposure; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; Outbreak; Post-exposure prophylaxis; Pre-isolation pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology
  • Female
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lopinavir / administration & dosage*
  • Lopinavir / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage*
  • Ribavirin / adverse effects
  • Ritonavir / administration & dosage*
  • Ritonavir / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Lopinavir
  • Ribavirin
  • Ritonavir