The past decade has seen the emergence of several novel viruses that cause respiratory tract infections in human beings, including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia, an H7N9 influenza A virus in eastern China, a swine-like influenza H3N2 variant virus in the USA, and a human adenovirus 14p1 also in the USA. MERS-CoV and H7N9 viruses are still a major worldwide public health concern. The pathogenesis and mode of transmission of MERS-CoV and H7N9 influenza A virus are poorly understood, making it more difficult to implement intervention and preventive measures. A united and coordinated global response is needed to tackle emerging viruses that can cause fatal respiratory tract infections and to fill major gaps in the understanding of the epidemiology and transmission dynamics of these viruses.
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