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Airborne viruses: easily transmitted and spread

Watch Prof. Simarro explain about respiratory zoonotic viruses which produce SARS, MERS and influenza.

Why are airborne viruses so important?

Many of the airborne viruses produce very severe diseases, associated with high mortality, which may be spread along long distances and cause outbreaks of the disease in different locations. In addition, many of them are zoonoses.


At the end of December 2019, a new coronavirus was described in Wuhan, China, causing acute and severe respiratory syndrome in people. This initial outbreak rapidly spread to other parts of China and then to other countries, first in Europe and then in America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The causative virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) because of its genetic similarity to the previous one that caused SARS in 2002. The disease is known as corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30th, 2020, and then on March 11th, 2020, the WHO assessed that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly. The distribution of reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide can be found on these websites:

Have your say

What is the situation in your country today? What prevention measures against COVID-19 are you taking? Your learning partners will be very interested in your experience to protect yourself and your family.

What are the general prevention measures adopted in your country?

Have you read anything about the possible animal origin of this new human coronavirus?

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Animal Viruses: Their Transmission and the Diseases They Produce

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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