Risk Factors for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection among Healthcare Personnel

Healthcare settings can amplify transmission of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), but knowledge gaps about the epidemiology of transmission remain. We conducted a retrospective cohort study among healthcare personnel in hospital units that treated MERS-CoV patients. Participants were interviewed about exposures to MERS-CoV patients, use of personal protective equipment, and signs and symptoms of illness after exposure. Infection status was determined by the presence of antibodies against MERS-CoV. To assess risk factors, we compared infected and uninfected participants. Healthcare personnel caring for MERS-CoV patients were at high risk for infection, but infection most often resulted in a relatively mild illness that might be unrecognized. In the healthcare personnel cohort reported here, infections occurred exclusively among those who had close contact with MERS-CoV patients.