South Korea Confirms Sixth MERS Death, First Teen Patient


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korea on Monday reported its sixth death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has infected at least 87 people since last May, including a 16-year-old boy, who is reportedly the first teenager to be infected with the virus. 

The teen was diagnosed with MERS at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, where he had been hospitalized since May 27 for a different illness, according to Yonhap News Agency

About 1,870 schools in South Korea have temporarily closed after a doctor, who was diagnosed with MERS came attended a conference with nearly 1,500 people a few weeks ago. More than 2,000 people have been quarantined at their homes or state-run facilities after having contact with infected patients.

On Sunday, South Korean government disclosed the names of 29 hospitals affected by the outbreak. A health ministry official said the list would allow individuals to report themselves if they have recently visited those facilities and are showing MERS-related symptoms, according to the Associated Press. Majority of MERS cases can be traced back to Samsung Seoul Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in the city of Pyeongtaek.

Previously, the health ministry had refused to disclose the list of affected hospitals, afraid that it would cause a disruption in medical services.

Despite the rising tally of MERS patients, Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said in a press conference that it is unlikely that the virus would significantly spread further in the country.

“So far, all the MERS cases have been hospital-associated, and there has been no case of an infection in other social settings,” Choi said, according to the AP. “We think we have a chance at putting the outbreak under total control.”

MERS bears a striking resemblance to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). There is no known cure or vaccine to prevent the infection. However, health experts say the disease is not airborne and only spreads through close contact with infected patients.

See Also


More Reason for Calm than Panic in South Korea’s MERS Scare

South Koreans Seeking Transparency Develop MERS Info-Sharing Tools


Featured image via Yonhap

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