Deadly MERS outbreak grips South Korea, 9 dead, 2,800 quarantined

June 10, 2015 | By | Reply More

Jun 10, – South Korea is grappling with two battles: the virus itself and the public fear over MERS, one official declared.

hromedia Deadly MERS outbreak grips South Korea, 9 dead, 2,800 quarantined intl. news4The nation has been struck by the largest outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outside Saudi Arabia, where the virus was discovered.

And the number of cases grows every day. On Tuesday, South Korea reported that a ninth person had died from MERS and another 13 had contracted the virus, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 108.

More than 2,800 people remain quarantined, either at home or in health facilities. More than 2,000 schools remain closed.

The virus has struck mainly adults, with the exception of one 16-year-old boy. And the MERS deaths have been among older adults with pre-existing conditions.

MERS, which surfaced three years ago, is not well understood. Because the virus is still fairly new, doctors and scientists do not know its exact source or mode of transmission. But it is not easily transmitted from person-to-person.

MERS is contracted through close contact with an ill person, usually by living with, or caring for, him or her, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Far from alone

The case that began the South Korean outbreak hit on May 20. The vast majority of the cases are hospital clusters.

Experts from the World Health Organization who have dealt with MERS arrived in South Korea to assess the pattern of the virus spread and to look at public health response efforts.

5 things to know about MERS

The latest outbreak prompted Hong Kong to issue a travel alert asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel to South Korea.

In Hong Kong on Tuesday, six Koreans were released from quarantine, having passed the 14 day incubation period and tested negative. All six had been on the same airplane flight on May 26.

Also Tuesday, in Guangzhou, in south China, four Koreans from that same flight to Hong Kong, were released from quarantine. Another four people, who attended a conference with someone who had MERS, are scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

South Korea is far from alone in dealing with MERS. As of early June, 1,179 cases of MERS have been confirmed in 25 countries, according to WHO.

Press journalist for HRO media – Dr. Carlos reports.

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