Facing COVID-19 in Middle East Countries: Challenges and Lessons from Previous Epidemics

  • Mohammed Medhat Tropical Medicine and Gastroenterology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University Hospitals, Egypt.
  • Enaam A Al Mowafy Tropical Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
  • Mohamed El-Kassas Endemic Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt.
Keywords: COVID-19, Middle East, SARS, MERS, Epidemics


Respiratory viruses have been a major cause of endemics, epidemics, and pandemics throughout history. The initial interest in the effect of Coronaviruses (CoVs) as a human respiratory pathogen started in 2002 with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic. Another CoV virus emerged in the following decade, causing the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These events promoted infectious disease experts to warn against an expected catastrophic viral pandemic. Unfortunately, this expected pandemic started in China in December 2019, caused by the novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which has infected and killed millions of people. Many activities held in the Middle East, especially pilgrimage, may represent a potential risk of spreading global viral infection, if not well-monitored. The lack of well-equipped laboratories and good tracking facilities in many Middle East countries may be a cause of insufficient knowledge. This review focuses on the healthcare situation in the Middle East during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, evaluating the authorities’ measurements to limit the spread of COVID-19 infection and their success.

How to cite this article:
Medhat M, Al Mowafy EA, El-Kassas M. Facing COVID-19 in Middle East Countries: Challenges
and Lessons from Previous Epidemics. J Commun Dis. 2023;55(2):67-71.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24321/0019.5138.202326


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