The Middle East and North Africa region face many challenges, including instability and disparate economic performance, both of which have adverse effects on health and survival. Disruptions in health care, access to clean water, and sanitation are problems in the region.
In Bahrain, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports increasing incidence of gonorrhea, syphilis, and viral hepatitis. HIV/AIDS and hepatitis remain significant health problems in Iran and Qatar. In localized areas of Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, malaria remains endemic, according to WHO. MERS-CoV, a newly identified coronavirus, has spread to at least nine countries in the region. NIAID is significantly involved in research on the infectious diseases in the region, including MERS-CoV.