from the but-feel-free-to-panic-anyway dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Back in 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS killed about 10 per cent of the 8,000 people it infected in southern China and Hong Kong. The severity of the disease and its high death rate triggered panic in many countries where health agencies worked feverishly to prevent its further spread, largely successfully. Then in September 2012, a virologist working in Saudi Arabia noticed a similar virus in a patient suffering from acute pneumonia and renal failure. Since then, so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS has also begun to spread. The World Health Organization says it knows of 63 deaths from only 149 cases, a death rate that seems to dwarf that of SARS. So how worried should we be? Now epidemiologists who have modeled how the disease spreads have some reassuring news. They say MERS is unlikely to cause a global pandemic. But with Saudi Arabia expecting the imminent arrival of millions of pilgrims for the 2013 Hajj, there are still good reasons to be concerned."
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