MERS and pregnancy
Recent reported cases MERS-COV in UAE have brought a lot of anxiety to pregnant mothers.
What is MERS ?
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a severe viral illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Patienta present with fever, cough and shortness of breath.
What causes MERS Middle East Respiratory Syndrome?
It can affect the lower respiratory, kidney, intestinal (bowel) and liver cells.
Bats seem to be the primary reservoir for MERS-CoV with camel the most probable intermediate for transmission to humans.
How is MERS-CoV transmitted ?
Case clusters identified till now are suggestive of human to human transmission. Possible modes of transmission are droplets and direct contact transmission. Most cluster cases have been reported in family and health care settings and have been self limited with appropriate vigilance and isolation. WHO believes that MERS-CoV virus has a limited potential for a pandemic.
Clinical presentation and symptoms
Most patients present with severe pneumonia and respiratory distress syndrome
Some have acute renal failure
Incubation period is about 7 days
MERS and Pregnancy
There have been less of a handful cases of confirmed MERS and pregnancy. So it is very difficult to draw conclusions on the effect of MERS CoV to pregnancy. However traditionally pregnant mothers are considered to be in the high risk group for MERS complications due to the changes in their immune response and the fetal effects of a severe respiratory syndrome.
A team from Jordan and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the findings in the Journal of Infectious Diseases about a pregnant mother who has miscarried after contacting MERS-CoV.
Her case was part of a family cluster with a close relative who died from MERS-CoV and her husband who had tested positive for MERS-CoV.
Treatment and vaccines for MERS and pregnancy
There is no specific anti viral treatment for MERS-COV-CoV infection. Patients are receiving supportive treatment
There are no vaccines for MERS-CoV
Prevention of MERS and pregnancy
Simple hygiene rules are very effective in preventing infection from MERS and pregnancy is not an extra reason to be vigilant;
Wash your hands often with soap and water and if this is not available use a sanitizer
Avoid contact with sick people
Avoid touching your eyes mouth and nose as germs spread this way
If you’re ill report to your doctor early. Inform before you reach the clinic so appropriate arrangements can be made to avoid cross infection with other patients (separate waiting area etc)
Further up to date information about MERS can be found at
Dr George Michailidis
Consultant if Fetal & Maternal Medicine
Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Genesis Perinatal Care Clinic, Dubai