The novel Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus has infected 77 people and killed at least 40 since it was identified in June 2012, and a team of CDC scientists is keeping close watch on the virus in an effort to blunt its possible domestic impact. Officials say the virus could easily reach U.S. shores through a traveler who contracts the virus overseas. Scientists are monitoring cases worldwide, developing plans for notifying the public of the potential risks, identifying a network of labs that can test for the virus and prioritizing research goals. Forty people in the U.S. have been tested for MERS, but all were negative for the virus.

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