Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral respiratory illness, was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 but has now been found in the United States. The U.S. reports of MERS, which is caused by a coronavirus, have raised fears about the spread of this potentially deadly infection. Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University has experts available to comment on various aspects related to MERS.

To schedule an interview with the following experts, please contact Kathy Fackelmann, the director of media relations at the Milken Institute SPH at [email protected] or 202-994-8354.

Lone Simonsen, PhD, research professor in the Department of Global Health at Milken Institute SPH, can talk about the epidemiology of MERS, the biology and transmission of the virus and the risk that it will spread. Dr. Simonsen was actively involved in the investigation of the 2002-2003 outbreak of a similar virus, which caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS.

Julie E. Fischer, PhD, associate research professor in the Department of Health Policy at Milken Institute SPH, can provide expertise on the spread of MERS to date; the nature and biology of the virus; the process by which the World Health Organization determines whether the illness constitutes a public health emergency; and the ability to detect the spread of MERS and other emerging infections.