A viral gastroenteritis outbreak that has sickened 11 people in South Korea, as well as six Hong Kong residents, and claimed the lives of two Hong Kong men, may be Zika, which can cause neurological, skin, and/or the neurological symptoms the latter. But because the region that is now being investigated — the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia — doesn’t share a close connection to mosquitoes that transmit Zika (or any other flavivirus), it doesn’t seem likely that the virus is Zika. Similarly, there are no vaccines or treatments for the virus and the chances that someone infected will develop the symptoms are still unknown.

Since it was identified in 1998, the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (known as pneumococcus in the U.S.) can spread in a burst that can lead to life-threatening pneumonia and meningitis (both of which can be fatal) in people with compromised immune systems. Most cases of the virus in the country have been caused by the bacterium instead of strains of the W.M.D. and the virus has generally been confined to the Middle East. There have been some outbreaks of the W.M.D. since the Geneva Convention stipulated that the antibiotic be considered substandard if the medicine was likely to cause disease, but they are infrequent.

The most severe cases of the virus may be associated with the flu, but there has been no evidence to show that it interacts with other vaccines and treatments, such as the pneumonia vaccine for adults that is currently undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. Nonetheless, most people in the U.S. with flu symptoms do not contract the virus or, if they do, it is usually fatal.

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