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WHO Issues Guidance As MERS Outbreak Spreads May 16, 2014
MERS virus seen by electron microscope
An electron microscope image of the MERS virus.
Saudi Arabia has advised its citizens to wear gloves and face masks when around camels to keep from becoming infected with the deadly MERS virus.

Also known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS has killed at least 157 people in Saudi Arabia alone since it was detected in 2012.

But passengers traveling to Europe, Asia and the United States have spread the disease to several other areas of the world, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to hold an emergency meeting to find ways to contain the disease.

The number of new cases has soared over the past six weeks, especially in Saudi Arabia. Camels are believed to be the main source of infection.

The animals are widely used for transportation, ritual sacrifice and racing in the Middle East, with some being kept as pets.

The WHO urged people to consume only well-cooked camel meat and pasteurized camel milk, and not to drink camel urine, believed by some to have medicinal qualities.

Image: CDC