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posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 09 2015, @03:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-funny-about-MERS dept.

The World Health Organization expects cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) to spread in South Korea. 200 primary schools are being closed and 1,300 people have been quarantined:

Health officials announced Wednesday [3 June] that five more people had been diagnosed, bringing the total infected with the virus to 30. Two patients have died. That makes the outbreak the largest outside the Arabian Peninsula, where the disease emerged in 2012. The virus, which primarily causes flu-like symptoms such as fever and cough, kills an estimated three to four out of every 10 patients infected.

The situation in South Korea has alarmed the global health community because the virus has spread so fast and wide from a single individual. Other countries have imported cases in the same manner but the virus infected only a few others.

How did MERS get to South Korea and why is it spreading so fast?

The first known case, called an "index" case, was reported on May 20. It involved a 68-year-old man who was returning from a 16-day business trip to four Middle Eastern countries. The man was asymptomatic during his return flight but was subsequently treated at two different out-patient clinics and two hospitals which created a lot of opportunities for the virus to spread. Health care workers did not suspect the man of having MERS so he was not put in isolation.

Others who have been infected include health care workers, other patients, family members and visitors. The World Health Organization reported that some of the cases were patients in the same room or ward as the man, and that their exposure may have been from 5 minutes to a few hours.

Two recent cases represent an alarming development — a third generation of transmission. That is, a patient who did not have contact with the index patient but came into contact with an intermediary who had been exposed to the virus. "That raised fears that infections could now spread exponentially from all people who test positive," Korea's JoongAng Daily reported.

The BBC is announcing the sixth Mers-related death in S Korea and outlining the containment strategy being adopted by the government.

A sixth person has died after contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) in South Korea, amid a sharp rise in infections.

More than 23 people were confirmed to have contracted the disease on Sunday, bringing the total to 87, health officials say.

[...] About 2,300 people have been placed under quarantine and nearly 1,900 schools have been closed.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday June 09 2015, @05:10AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 09 2015, @05:10AM (#193944) Homepage Journal

    While this won't solve the problem it will go a long ways towards containing it:

    The last couple times I visited a medical clinic, the receptionist asked me whether I had traveled outside the country recently. That's It.

    Even if it's not MERS or Ebola, traveling far from home exposes you to many diseases for which you may not have a natural immunity. I learned that the hard way when I visited Guatemala.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @05:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @05:21AM (#193947)

    Pursuant to public health, no travel of any kind shall be permitted. If you live more than 10 miles away from your workplace, find another job.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @08:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @08:55AM (#194013)

      as far as containment goes, that would be pretty effective i think

      as far as personal liberties go... pfft that is sooo 18th century

  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday June 09 2015, @08:36AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday June 09 2015, @08:36AM (#194007) Journal

    Another low level but brutally efficient method is isolation which is what S.Korean authorities tries to do. The question is if that will contain the number of new cases. If the number of infected increases faster than they either get well or die then there's a big problem..