AFP – Timeline of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV), which first emerged in 2012 and is mainly focused on Saudi Arabia where it has killed more than 100 people:
April: a new coronavirus appears, similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago in east Asia, leaping to humans from animals and killing some 800 people. In June a patient suffering from respiratory problems in Saudi Arabia dies.
September: the World Health Organisation says that a Qatari is critically ill in London after contracting an infection similar to SARS. It says the man, who fell ill after visiting Saudi Arabia, is suffering from acute respiratory infection and kidney failure. He dies in June 2013.
November: four new cases, one fatal, are reported to the WHO. Three are in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar.
February: A patient dies in Britain after apparently being infected by a relative who visited the Middle East and Pakistan.
Two patients die in Jordan.
26 March: A 70-year-old Saudi transferred to Germany for treatment dies of the virus.
The WHO reiterates calls on member states to remain vigilant for cases of severe acute respiratory infections.
10 May: An infected man travelling from Saudi Arabia dies in Tunisia.
15 May: The WHO says two Saudi health workers contract the virus from patients.
23 May: The WHO voices deep concern about the potential spread of the virus which it redubs the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.
28 May: France’s first casualty dies. Contamination of the patient in an adjacent hospital bed confirms MERS can be transmitted human to human.
1 June: Three cases registered in Italy, including a 45-year-old man recently returned from Jordan and two members of his entourage.
12 July: The United Arab Emirates announce their first case, followed by Qatar on 20 August, Oman on 30 October and Kuwait on 13 November.
22 August: Bats linked for the first time to MERS, according to a new US study.
Mid-October: the death toll passes 50 in Saudi Arabia as some two million Muslim pilgrims head to Mecca. The authorities say no MERS cases detected among them.
11 November: Riyadh says that a camel has tested positive for MERS, the first case of an infected animal. Researchers say animals can transmit the virus.
21 April: As the toll mounts and panic spreads in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia dismisses the health minister.
24 April: The WHO expresses concern about the rising number of cases, “especially in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates”.
26 April: Egypt’s first case announced: a patient arriving from Saudi Arabia.
27 April: MERS death toll in Saudi Arabia reaches 102.