Members of our team recently visited Asia, including a trip to the South Korean capital, Seoul. At the time Seoul was experiencing an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Sydrome (MERS). This illness affects the respiratory system and is caused by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The first human cases of this novel virus strain were reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. News of the spread of MERS-CoV added to the already high level of concern about viruses in Asia. Just some of the recent well publicised outbreaks in the region are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002/2003; Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) in 2008 and 2009; and Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (Swine Flu) in 2009.
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