Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) Case Definition

This document contains the case definitions for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) infection which is nationally notifiable within Australia. This definition should be used to determine whether a case should be notified.

Page last updated: 01 July 2016

PDF printable version of Surveillance case definition for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (PDF 55 KB)

Last reviewed
Endorsement date
Implementation date
1.0 Initial CDNA case definition CDWG 4 March 2016
CDNA 6 June 2016
1 July 2016


Confirmed and probable cases should be notified.

Confirmed case

A confirmed case requires laboratory definitive evidence only.

Laboratory definitive evidence

Detection of MERS coronavirus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in a public health reference laboratory using the testing algorithm described in the national guideline (SoNG) and summarised below1.

Probable case

A probable case requires clinical evidence AND epidemiological evidence.

Clinical evidence

An acute respiratory infection with clinical, radiological, or histopathological evidence of pulmonary parenchymal disease (e.g. pneumonia or pneumonitis or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).


No possibility of laboratory confirmation for MERS-CoV because the patient or samples are not available for testing.

Epidemiological evidence

Close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case.

  1. To consider a case as laboratory-confirmed, one of the following conditions must be met:
    • A positive PCR result for at least two different specific targets on the MERS-CoV genome.
    • One positive PCR result for a specific target on the MERS-CoV genome and an additional different PCR product sequenced, confirming identity to known sequences of MERS-CoV.

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