TDH Advises Clinicians have Heightened Awareness about MERS CO-V with International Travel Patients

Monday, June 15, 2015 | 12:23pm

NASHVILLE – In response to a Korean outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, commonly known as MERS Co-V, the Tennessee Department of Health has issued an alert to healthcare providers. The alert issued Friday, June 12, urges clinicians to ask their patients about recent travel, to look for evidence of the illness in patient assessments and to share their findings and information with public health officials.

“While we remain vigilant and ready to respond rapidly should the need arise, at this time there are no known cases of MERS Co-V in Tennessee,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our health care partners have been asking the critical travel history questions for many months and we are simply reminding them to heighten their index of suspicion and to remain operationally ready to assess any such patient.”

For more information about the current situation in Korea and China, see

MERS Co-V is a respiratory illness first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia; it is now known to exist in more than 20 countries. Those infected with the viral illness may develop severe respiratory issues accompanied by fever, shortness of breath and coughing. MERS Co-V can be fatal.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.  Learn more about TDH services and programs at