Largest MERS Outbreak in South Korea

by Tokana Hasavi – EM TV World

In South Korea, seven people are dead, 2,500 have been quarantined and about 2,000 schools remain closed, following the country’s largest outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Another eight have contracted the deadly virus, bringing the amount of confirmed cases to 95.

South Korea has been struck with the largest MERS outbreak, outside of Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first discovered.

Today, the virus claimed its seventh victim, since it first came under the radar late last month.

Led by World Health Organisation’s, Assistant Director-General for Health Security, Keiji Fukuda, a team of experts arrived in Cheongju to evaluate the response to the outbreak.

Fukuda also said his team will look at how and why the virus managed to spread rapidly, despite the lack of knowledge on its modes of transmission.

WHO has not recommended a travel ban, but thousands of tourists have cancelled plans to visit South Korea.

MERS was first identified in humans three years ago in Saudi Arabia, and is caused by a coronavirus, which comes from the same family as the one that triggered SARS.

Scientists are not sure where the virus came from and the way in which humans get infected remains a mystery.

Its symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath; other symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

MERS has a death rate at 38 per cent, meaning that a third of people who get infected, die, according to WHO figures.

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