The SARS-like Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, known as MERS-CoV, is spreading across the globe.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the novel coronavirus (NCoV) that has been in the headlines recently was renamed the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). But that doesn’t mean it’s limited to people in the region.
The SARS-like virus has infected 49 people globally, 27 of whom have died. The latest deaths occurred in Saudi Arabia and France.
On Monday, Dr. Margaret Chan, general director of the WHO, said the virus is “a threat to the entire world.”
The name change came about to better facilitate communication about the disease and provide uniformity.
The MERS-CoV is similar to a cold virus that goes after the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. Symptoms can include fever and a cough, but are so severe they can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
Scientists aren’t quite sure how it spreads, which is making it hard to prevent.