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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:09 pm 
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MERS Confirmed Cases In South Korea Increase To Nine

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:10 pm 
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S. Korea confirms 2 additional MERS cases
2015-05-29 11:45
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South Korea confirmed two additional cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome on Friday, raising the number of patients diagnosed with the virus to nine.

SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap)
kokobj@yna.co.kr
(END)

http://m.yna.co.kr/mob2/en/contents_en. ... 320&mobile

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 4:11 am 
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(2nd LD) S. Korea confirms 2 additional MERS cases
2015-05-29 12:51
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South Korea confirmed two additional cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome on Friday, raising the number of patients diagnosed with the virus to nine.

The two were found to have been infected with the potentially fatal disease from a 68-year-old patient, the country's first confirmed MERS case, according to the health ministry.

One of them was a 30-year-old female medical staff who treated the first confirmed MERS patient, while the other, who is 56 years old, stayed at the same hospital ward as the first patient, the ministry said.

The medical staff was among those who have been in quarantine.

MERS is a viral respiratory illness that is fairly new to humans, with only 1,142 reported cases in 23 countries since the first case was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There currently is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which has a very high fatality rate of 40.7 percent.

The latest cases raised the number of people infected with the potentially deadly virus to nine, eight of whom were known to have come in contact -- director or indirect -- with the patient who was first confirmed on May 20.

The ministry said that it is closely monitoring a total of 120 people who might have contacted MERS patients to prevent the spread of the virus, though no secondary infections have been reported.

Meanwhile, as the health conditions for the 71-year-old man who tested positive for MERS on Thursday deteriorated sharply, medical staff inserted tube into the patient to support his breathing, according to the ministry.

SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap)
kokobj@yna.co.kr
(END)

http://m.yna.co.kr/mob2/en/contents_en. ... 320&mobile

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 4:15 am 
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[Editorial] Disease control
Response to MERS epidemic reveals big loopholes
Published: 2015-05-28 19:47
Updated: 2015-05-28 19:47
As we have seen in the recent Ebola epidemic, a deadly, contagious disease ― unless completely contained in time ― can endanger national security as much as other threats. It seems the Korean health authorities have not learned any lessons from the outbreaks of the Ebola virus and other major epidemics.

It is a matter of great dismay and concern to hear that health authorities keep mishandling cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome. A man who was suspected of being infected with the coronavirus that causes the disease, and kept under watch, has left for China.

The 44-year-old man was not diagnosed with the viral disease, but he was one of the about 60 people isolated at hospitals or homes after coming in contact with the MERS patients.

It is more incomprehensible that he left the country without the knowledge of officials, who had already faced criticism for mishandling the case of none other than his sister.

His sister, also in her 40s, was experiencing minor symptoms such as fever and headache after spending about four hours with her father, who contracted the virus from the first patient who was staying in the same hospital room. She asked for a test and voluntary quarantine.

But authorities rejected her request, saying that her symptoms were not so serious as to be tested and quarantined under the guidelines provided in the government manual. They said her temperature was lower than 38 degrees Celsius, the level required for testing under the manual, and she did not have acute respiratory problems.


As it turned out only five days later, the woman was confirmed to have contracted the deadly MERS coronavirus and was admitted to a government-designated hospital. This stupidity could have been prevented if any of the officials had the sense to be flexible with the manual, considering that she had stayed in a room occupied by a MERS patient.

As public criticism over the officials’ blind obedience to the government manual mounts, Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo belatedly said the government would not be bound by the manual and take preemptive measures “under the assumption of the worst case possible.”

He also said authorities would set up a 24-hour monitoring system, and immediately test and quarantine anyone who shows any signs of abnormality after coming in contact with a patient.

It is more scary than unnerving that our health care system did not practice these basic, matter-of-course rules in responding to a disease with a fatality rate as high as 40.7 percent, for which there is no vaccine or treatment.

Given the lax response, it would be strange if the number of people who contracted the virus does not rise since the first case was reported May 20: It has grown to seven, including a doctor. We only hope it does not get worse.

http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150528000605

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