Per the World Health Organization, MERS, also known as MERS-CoV, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, is a virus transferred to humans from infected animals — in this case, dromedary camels, the ones with one hump. MedicalNewsToday reports that MERS-CoV was first discovered in Saudi Arabia September 20, 2012, when the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases “reported a novel coronavirus isolated from sputum samples of a 60-year-old man.” Since then, 27 countries have reported a total of 2,519 cases and 828 known deaths due to infection or related complications, which means 35 percent of those who have contracted MERS have died. Like other coronaviruses, such as SARS and COVID-19, researchers think it “originated in bats and later transmitted to camels at some point in the distant past.”

 

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