SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean couple’s wedding photo has recently gone viral as a harrowing and unexpected example of the region’s scare over the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
At least one example of the photo began circulating on Twitter and Instagram over the weekend. In the picture the wedding party poses as a group, and nearly everyone in the image is seen wearing a surgical mask.
According to multiple reports, the party posed for the photo as a joke, but it quickly came to symbolize the distress caused by MERS, as seven have been killed and roughly 100 infected by the virus in that country.
However South Korea believes the outbreak may have peaked. Experts said Tuesday that the next several days would be critical to determining whether the government’s belated efforts have successfully stymied the disease.
The biggest outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outside the region where it was first seen in 2012 was introduced to South Korea last month by a 68-year-old man who had traveled to Saudi Arabia and other nearby countries.
There has been widespread fear in South Korea of the poorly understood disease, which has no vaccine and as much as a 40 percent mortality rate.
Nearly 3,000 people have been placed in isolation and 2,200 schools have been closed in South Korea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.