Published On: Mon, Jun 8th, 2015

MERS outbreak in South Korea

south-korea-mers-virusMERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus has killed 6 people since May in South Korea; the number of infection is rising on a daily basis,a total of 87 people  have been infected in the largest outbreak outside the Middle East causing more fear and anger while more than 1,800 schools have been closed to prevent the spread;1,500 people were forced into isolation and self quarantine after attending a symposium with a doctor who was infected with MERS  and  a Korean air force member stationed in a US air base in South Korea tested positive for MERS, he is to remain in isolation at a military hospital on the base.

The first case started with a man who returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, he was reported to be infected in May although he wasn’t ill during his travel.

MERS immerged first in Saudi Arabia in spring 2012, camels were linked to this virus after scientists published in February a finding that ¾ of these camels were tested positive for MERS exposure; the virus belongs to the same family of SARS and common cold, it attacks the respiratory system causing fever and cough, pneumonia and kidney failure in more severe cases according to WHO.

Japan has said it was considering possible quarantine measures for people arriving from South Korea, China reported its first case of MERS last week when a South Korean man who tested positive after breaking his voluntary quarantine, traveled to Hong Kong and on to mainland China.

The CDC (centers for disease control and prevention in the US) is concerned about the outbreak, people might be at risk in case of close contact with someone infected, but no travel warning has been issued yet.

There is no vaccine for MERS up till now.

© Reinshe 2015

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