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9 of the worst viruses on Earth

By: Mary Jo DiLonardo on Dec. 9, 2019, 8:36 a.m.
What is MERS

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MERS and SARS coronavirus diseases

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are part of the coronavirus family — viruses that usually cause upper respiratory illnesses. Though virus transmission seems to come from infected camels, reports Smithsonian, both illnesses are easily spread through human sneezes and coughs.

SARS was first reported in Asia in 2003, according to the CDC, but the global outbreak was quickly contained and no more cases have been reported since 2004. MERS, however, was first reported in 2012 and has since spread to other countries. About 36% of patients who have reported MERS (shown here) have died, according to the WHO. There's no vaccine or treatment currently available.