A reader emailed me with a question dear to my retired English teacher's heart:
As a regular reader of your blog, and Mike Coston's, and as you are a Canadian, I was wondering what your take was on how to pronounce "MERS". I was a little taken back by US news reports over the weekend where the newsreaders pronounced MERS to rhyme with "nurse" with a sharp s. I had always thought it would be like SARS, that is, with an s that was pronounced more like a "z". Of course, that is a typically American tendency, so I was curious what your take was on it.
Like the reader, I've mentally and vocally pronounced MERS to rhyme with "purrs," not with "curse." And like the reader, I do so by analogy with SARS, which everyone rhymes with "cars," not "farce."
These are anglophone responses; speakers of other languages should feel free to pronounce MERS any way they please.