A young South Korean couple and dozens of guests standing together for a group photo in Seoul on June 6, 2015. The young South Korean couple became an unexpected symbol of the MERS health scare sweeping the nation after a different photo of the same group showing the couple and guests jokingly posed wearing surgical masks went viral.
Sewing for the Soil/AFP/Getty Images
By Justin Worland
June 10, 2015

A photo of South Korean wedding attendees wearing surgical masks to protect themselves from the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) went viral this week. It turns out the photo was a joke, but it remains a symbol of how much fear of the disease has grown.

The photo, which was taken at a wedding on Saturday in Seoul, spread quickly on social media. A wedding planner told the Agence France-Press that the attendees had spent the duration of the ceremony without masks, and they never wanted the posed mask photo to be taken seriously.

MERS, which has no known cure, has killed nine people and left more than 2,800 quarantined in South Korea.

Read next: Here’s the Difference Between MERS and Ebola

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