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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @03:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @03:32PM (#194105)

    it is interesting that no one in the middle east is ick or getting sick. maybe they're immune to the always-on, omnipresent, humid, not-cared-for, bacteria and virus growth vats called .. air-conditioners?
    or maybe it cannot become pupic :) knowledge that people with too much time and money like to go to ..uhm..errr.. less developed (poor) countries to find some company in dark, seedy bedbug invested ... love motels?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @03:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09 2015, @03:34PM (#194106)

    "hi honey! did you take all your anti-biotics and wear a condom on your trip? oh and did you bring me that diamond ring?"

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Tuesday June 09 2015, @07:28PM

    by HiThere (866) on Tuesday June 09 2015, @07:28PM (#194211) Journal

    IIUC, MERS is descended from Camel Pox. And Camel Pox is mildly contagious among humans, but not sufficiently to maintain itself without the camels. O, and it's so mild you almost don't know you've got it. So if you've had Camel Pox, you probably won't get MERS. (Rather like Cow Pox and Small Pox.)

    This was offered as an informed guess by a doctor a year or so ago when MERS first hit the new. Maybe it's true. It explains your observation.

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