Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which has killed 42 of the 79 known people it has infected, is less transmissible than SARS, according to new data. The researchers found that each infection of MERS led to an average of 0.69 subsequent cases, compared with 0.8 with SARS. Experts said there is urgent need for researchers to identify the animal reservoir of the disease to understand the threat and possibly prevent new infections. Although the new data were cast as evidence MERS is unlikely to spark a pandemic, the World Health Organization plans to convene an expert committee to assess the level of international public health threat posed.
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