To date, 1841 cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection have been reported worldwide, with 652 deaths. We used a publically available case line list to explore the effect of relevant factors, notably underlying comorbidities, on fatal outcome of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) cases up to the end of October 2016. A Bayesian Weibull proportional hazards regression model was used to assess the effect of comorbidity, age, epidemic period and sex on the fatality rate of MERS cases and its variation across countries. The crude fatality rate of MERS cases was 32.1% (95% credibility interval (CI): 29.9%, 34.3%). Notably, the incremental change of daily death rate was most prominent during the first week since disease onset with an average increase of 13%, but then stabilized in the remaining two weeks when it only increased 3% on average. Neither sex, nor country of infection were found to have a significant impact on fatality rates after taking into account the age and comorbidity status of patients. After adjusting for age, epidemic period, MERS patients with comorbidity had around 4 times the risk for fatal infection than those without (adjusted hazard ratio of 3.74 (95% CI: 2.57, 5.67)).
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