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Mers spread 'not global emergency'

Published 17/06/2015

People wear masks as a precaution against Mers as they arrive at Seoul Railway Station in South Korea (AP)
People wear masks as a precaution against Mers as they arrive at Seoul Railway Station in South Korea (AP)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the spread of a mysterious virus from the Middle East to South Korea does not merit being declared a global emergency, despite infecting more than 150 people in the biggest outbreak outside the Arabian peninsula.

The UN health agency called the epidemic "a wake-up call" and warned all countries to prepare for potential outbreaks of the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or Mers.

Nearly three years after Mers was identified, scientists are still unsure how people are catching it or where it originated, although they suspect the disease is linked to camels.

The WHO recommends that people avoid contact with the animals, do not drink camel milk or urine and only eat camel meat that has been well-cooked.

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