Written by By Reena Amos Dyes, CNN

Two years after the first case of a Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus infection was identified in Saudi Arabia, the global death toll from the disease has topped 2,000, according to official figures released Tuesday.

A total of 2,010 people have died since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified in 2012, an increase of 2% over the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The transmission of the disease is still relatively low, and just 41 cases of MERS-CoV infection were recorded in the last week, according to data from 24 of the 42 countries where coronavirus infections were reported.

The second most serious threat to global health is the Zika virus, which has been strongly linked to serious birth defects.

The most recent Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, published last week, said the virus has caused "massive brain and eye damage" in babies of infected pregnant women.

The WHO has warned countries to be on the lookout for pregnant women who had been in areas at risk of transmission of the virus, which is also known as the Zika virus.

Prevention and treatment of the virus has become a growing public health problem in several Latin American and Asian countries.

WHO estimates as many as 4 million cases are expected to occur across the Americas and Asia by the end of this year.

WHO latest report

The WHO is advising that people carrying an active case of the virus undergo blood tests to ensure that they are not pregnant.