Travel health advice on Middle East respiratory syndrome

Travellers should

Before the trip:

  • Consult a health care provider before travelling to review the risk, as pre-existing major medical conditions including diabetes, chronic lung disease, pre-existing renal failure, or immuno-compromised conditions can increase the likelihood of medical problems, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), during travel.
During the trip:
  • Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene. Wash hands before touching the eyes, nose and mouth, and after sneezing, coughing or cleaning the nose;
  • Avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels;
  • Avoid contact with animals, especially camels (including riding camels or participating in any activity involving contact with camels), birds, poultry or sick people during travel;
  • Wash hands regularly before and after touching animals in case of visits to farms, barns or markets with camels;
  • Avoid close contact with sick people, especially with those suffering from acute respiratory infections, and avoid visit to healthcare settings with MERS patients;
  • Avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products, including milk and meat, or foods which may be contaminated by animal secretions or excretions (such as urine);
  • Wash hands before eating or handling food, and after using the toilet; and
  • If travellers develop a significant acute respiratory illness with fever and cough (severe enough to interfere with usual daily activities) during travel, they should:
    • seek medical attention immediately;
    • cover the mouth and nose with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, dispose of the soiled tissues properly into a lidded rubbish bin, and then wash hands thoroughly;
    • avoid attending crowded places and preferably isolate themselves until the end of the respiratory symptoms and, if isolation is not possible, use a tissue for covering nose and mouth or a surgical mask when in crowded places.
After the trip:
  • Seek medical attention if feeling unwell during the 2 weeks after return, inform doctor of recent travel history.


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Last revision date: 21 August 2015