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U-M Expert: Keep MERS In Perspective

May 12, 2014

A colorized transmission of the MERS coronavirus that emerged in 2012 is seen in this file photo provided by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Credit National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases

  A University of Michigan expert says we need to keep the threat posed by a new and potentially deadly respiratory infection in perspective.

Credit cdc.gov

The first U.S. case of MERS was recently discovered. It has infected about 400 people, mainly in the Middle East, since 2012. It's been fatal in about a third of those cases.

Dr. Howard Markel is a pediatrician, U-M's George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine, and a consultant to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

He says any emerging infectious disease is a serious problem.

But while about 400 people have contracted MERS in the past couple of years, 400 people die each hour from diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and diarrheal diseases.

Find the CDC's list of frequently asked questions about MERS online: