CDC’s early response to a novel viral disease, middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), September 2012–May 2014

Holly Ann Williams*, Richard L. Dunville, Susan I. Gerber, Dean D. Erdman, Nicki Pesik, David Kuhar, Karen A. Mason, Lia Haynes, Lisa Rotz, Jeanette St Pierre, Sarah Poser, Sudhir Bunga, Mark A. Pallansch, David L. Swerdlow, Catherine Chow, Nicole Cohen, Aaron Curns, Cristina da Silva Carias, Chris De La Hurst Mott, Lisa DelaneyEileen Farnon, Lyn Finelli, Ashley Fowlkes, Paul Gastanaduy, Thomas Gomez, Alice Guh, Yoni Haber, Jeff Hageman, Aron Hall, Kelly Holton, Kashef Ijaz, Dan Jernigan, John Jernigan, Alexander Kallen, Gayle Langley, Emmaculate Lebo, Eyal Leshem, Deborah Levy, Susan Lippold, Dave McAdams, C. J. McKnight, Martin Meltzer, Jessica Moore, Justin Ohagen, Manisha Patel, Daniel C. Payne, Huong Pham, Brian Rha, Kevin Ryan, Jeanette St Pierre, Scott Santibanez, Chris Schembri, Eileen Schneider, Anne Schuchat, Myron Schultz, Beth Schweitzer, Jane Seward, Kristine Sheedy, Lee Smith, Jeremy Sobol, Mark Sotir, James Spahr, Todd Talbert, Chris Van Beneden, Christopher Zimmerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first ever case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERSCoV) was reported in September 2012. This report describes the approaches taken by CDC, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, to respond to this novel virus, and outlines the agency responses prior to the first case appearing in the United States in May 2014. During this time, CDC’s response integrated multiple disciplines and was divided into three distinct phases: before, during, and after the initial activation of its Emergency Operations Center. CDC’s response to MERS-CoV required a large effort, deploying at least 353 staff members who worked in the areas of surveillance, laboratory capacity, infection control guidance, and travelers’ health. This response built on CDC’s experience with previous outbreaks of other pathogens and provided useful lessons for future emerging threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2015


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