MERS in the air and everywhere!


5th August 2016


There has been much discussion on the transmission routes of the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Initial studies suggested that contamination of air and surfaces could be important in the transmission of the MERS-CoV. A recent study in Clinical Infectious Diseases evaluated the extent of air and surface contamination surrounding patients during MERS-CoV outbreaks in 2015 in South Korea. A high rate of both air and surface contamination was identified. 4/7 air samples from two patient’s rooms a bathroom and a common corridor were contaminated with MERS-CoV, and 15 of 68 surfaces were found to be contaminated with MERS-CoV by viral culture. The finding of viable MERS-CoV in a common corridor is of particular concern, and, although asymptomatic shedding could have been involved, this suggests that MERS-CoV was not contained during the outbreak. These high rates of contamination of both surfaces and air suggest that either or both  could be involved in the transmission of MERS-CoV.  



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