Even if the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus never sparks a pandemic, there is good reason to keep an eye on coronaviruses and other mammalian diseases, according to Justin Lessler, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A pandemic is a global epidemic of a disease in which each infected human in turn infects at least one other. Although the recently identified MERS virus passes between people, it does not appear to do so at that frequency, Lessler writes.

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