MERS death toll rises to 343

GENEVA - The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, virus has killed 343 people since 2012, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The World Health Organization, or WHO, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health and is headquartered in Geneva.

"Between 20 November and 7 December 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 11 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 4 deaths," WHO said in a statement.

There are 938 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV worldwide, including at least 343 related deaths since September 2012 when the virus first appeared, WHO added.

WHO urged countries "to continue their surveillance for acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns."

The organization also said it "does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions."

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