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MERS Virus in South Korea

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Author Topic: MERS Virus in South Korea  (Read 312 times)
Mark
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« on: June 04, 2015, 10:57:21 am »

The Next Epidemic? 1,364 Now Under Quarantine for Novel MERS Virus in South Korea

It has now been confirmed that 30 people in South Korea have contracted MERS, a deadly virus from the same family as SARS, and officials believe that number is going to grow. Two people have died, and another 1,364 people are currently being quarantined. The Korean government has closed down over 230 schools to prevent the infection from spreading.

MERS, which stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, is a relatively new virus discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012. According to the CDC, people who contract MERS wind up with a severe and often deadly acute respiratory illness.

CNN reported, “The extent of the outbreak in South Korea has taken many by surprise — mainly because the virus has not been shown to spread easily between humans and the health care system in the country is considered to be sophisticated and modern.”

Articles on this growing epidemic continue to stress that it isn’t usually spread easily between humans, but that information seems contradictory to what is actually happening in reality on the ground in South Korea right now.

Apparently it’s spreading easily enough and in well developed nations.

Officials are noting that these cases have stemmed from hospitals, once again proving they aren’t exactly the best place to go for mass viral outbreaks. One hospital in South Korea has been temporarily shut down in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading.

Only two cases have ever shown up in the U.S., both in May 2014. Some 500 individuals have tested negative here since then. Of course, if Ebola is any clue, the U.S. may start shipping MERS patients here… you know, just because the CDC and State Department can.

- See more at: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/the-next-epidemic-1364-now-under-quarantine-for-mers-in-south-korea_062015#sthash.flAyYHSG.dpuf
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2015, 10:57:59 am »

Panic Heightens as South Korea MERS Epidemic Spreads

South Korean officials announced on Wednesday that they can confirm the existence of five new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, commonly called MERS.

Of those cases, four of the five patients had been in the same hospital as the first patient, a 68-year-old who travelled to several countries in the Middle East. The fifth patient caught the disease from another person infected with the virus.

A current total of 30 people have tested positive for the disease, and the South Korean government is waiting on about 100 test results to come back.

Two South Koreans have been killed by the recent MERS outbreak.

MERS is a virus which targets the respiratory system—lungs and breathing tubes. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and 30-40 percent of those infected have died. There is no vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that MERS spreads through close contact. People who have recently journeyed to the Middle East, those who have been in close contact with them, and those who have been in close contact with camels.

MERS is related to the deadly SARS virus which killed about 8,000 in 2003, primarily in China. The CDC was able to partner with the World Health Organization to prevent more deaths and a global pandemic.

South Korea is doing everything it can do to prevent the further spread of the virus. 544 schools, 3 percent of the nation’s 20,000, have been temporarily closed, primarily in the country’s Gyeonggi and Chuncheong Provinces. In addition, about 1,400 people have been quarantined.

However, South Korea has yet to upgrade their disease alert level from “watch” to “warning.”

The government says that most cases of the virus spreading can be attributed to careless infection control.

“A lot of fear we see now is rooted in the distrust of the government and what it says,” crisis management expert Yu Min-yeong said.

There is only one case of MERS caused by the outbreak in South Korea which is known to have spread outside of its borders. A Chinese national, visiting South Korea, brought the virus back to his homeland.

Two Americans have tested positive for MERS, but both were in May 2014 and are unconnected to the recent South Korean outbreak.

“There is no reason for people to panic, and nothing so far suggests to me that the virus has changed to become more dangerous,” Dr. Allison McGeer, an expert on infection control at Toronto’s Mount Sanai Hospital, said.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/06/03/panic-heightens-as-south-korea-mers-epidemic-spreads/
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 01:50:19 pm »

MERS virus spreading across Asia, South Korea fails to contain outbreak
http://rt.com/news/266464-mers-virus-hong-kong/
6/11/15

Hong Kong issued a red alert and advised against traveling to South Korea, where an epidemic of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is gaining pace. The virus is spreading despite attempts to contain the outbreak.

In Korea, the number of infected people passed 100 this week, reaching 122 on Thursday. Tenth patient died from the disease, health officials said on Thursday. Most of the victims are elderly patients with other health problems unrelated to the virus. Over 3,250 people remain in quarantine.

Two people in Hong Kong who traveled to South Korea recently are being tested for possible MERS contagion, the authorities said on Thursday. Previously 31 people were tested negative in Hong Kong.

Earlier a man tested positive for the disease in China after coming from S. Korea, and a man in Taiwan was taken to hospital with symptoms consistent with MERS.

South Korean authorities are trying to stop the spread of the virus by closing schools and canceling public events. Neighbors in the region are scaling down tourist travel to South Korea, with Hong Kong alone scrapping 600 tours to the MERS-hit country.

Macau issued an advisory against traveling to South Korea.

S. Korean President Park Geun-hye postponed her visit to the US, which was scheduled for June 14-18. Park decided not to leave the country in a time of crisis, especially since the S. Korean government currently has no prime minister.

READ MORE: Drug-resistant typhoid tracked worldwide, public health threat 'critical' - study

MERS most likely spread to South Korea from Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first identified in 2012. At least 448 deaths are attributed to it, most of them in the Middle East, according to the World Health Organization numbers. The Korean outbreak is the largest so far outside the Middle East.

The virus is of the same coronavirus family that caused a massive epidemic in China in 2003 from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). So far there is no vaccine for MERS.

Regional concerns about the MERS epidemic come as increased international traffic in a globalized world makes contagious diseases more dangerous. The most-publicized recent outbreak – the Ebola virus in West Africa – was actually caused by a strain of the virus no more virulent than the first recorded epidemic in 1976, according to research published this week by the National Institutes of Health.

But the connectivity of the modern world and authorities’ hesitation to enforce quarantines to avoid economic harm, allowed Ebola to spread, causing at least 11,000 deaths, a record for the disease.
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2015, 06:51:14 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/south-korea-reports-14th-mers-death-12-cases-015502744.html
South Korea MERS virus outbreak 'large and complex': WHO
6/13/15

Seoul (AFP) - South Korea's outbreak of the deadly MERS virus is "large and complex" and more cases should be expected, a team of World Health Organization (WHO) experts said on Saturday.

WHO and South Korean health authorities have conducted a joint mission to review the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the largest outside Saudi Arabia.

The outbreak in South Korea has been spreading at an unusually fast pace, with 138 confirmed infections as of Saturday, with the country's first case diagnosed on May 20.

South Korea on Saturday reported the 14th death from the disease and 12 new cases, including that of an ambulance driver who transported a patient infected with the deadly virus.

"Now the outbreak has been large and is complex, more cases should be anticipated", WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security Keiji Fukuda told journalists.

"And because of this, the government should remain vigilant and should continue its intensified disease surveillance and prevention measures until the outbreak is clearly over".

But he praised South Korean authorities for their strong tracing, monitoring and quarantine measures, backed by expanded laboratory diagnostic testing.

Fukuda said there was a "great deal of anxiety" among Koreans over the outbreak, particularly over whether the virus has mutated to make human-to-human transmission easier.

"Based on available sequencing studies of the genetics of the virus, we do not see any changes that appear to have made the virus itself more transmissible", Fukuda said.

The outbreak is showing epidemiological patterns similar to the one occurring in hospitals in the Middle East, he said.

- Unfamiliar virus -

At present, the mission has found no evidence to indicate that there are ongoing transmissions of the virus in communities outside hospitals in South Korea, he added.

The joint mission has identified some reasons to explain why the virus has infected a "large number of people in a relatively short period of time" in this country, Fukuda said.

The virus was unfamiliar to most Koreans, making doctors less likely to suspect the MERS virus as a potential cause of infection when diagnosing respiratory illnesses.

"Infection prevention and control measures were not optimal" in some hospitals, with overcrowded emergency rooms and many patients sharing a single hospital room, thus creating an environment for the virus to spread easily, he said.

South Koreans' habit of "doctor shopping" -- seeking care at many different medical facilities -- and the custom of having many friends and family members visit hospitalised patients may have contributed to the secondary spread of the infection, he added.

He recommended the continued enforcement of basic public health measures to stop further cases from spreading and urged infected people or those who have had contact with them not to travel.

The Health Ministry said on Saturday all the 14 killed by the virus had pre-existing health conditions, with the most recent fatality suffering from hypertension and hypothyroidism.

The latest fatality was a 68-year-old woman who contracted the virus at a hospital in Pyeongtaek City, 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of Seoul.

The new confirmed cases included an ambulance driver who fell ill after transporting a 75-year-old infected woman to Samsung Medical Centre in southern Seoul on June 7, where she died three days later.

Out of 133 people whose contact with infected patients have been traced, the largest single group of 60 contracted the disease at Samsung Medical Centre, one of the largest hospitals in Seoul.

Five other cases are being investigated to find out how and where the patients were infected.

The first infected patient in South Korea was diagnosed on May 20 after a trip to Saudi Arabia.

The 68-year-old man visited four medical facilities, infecting other patients and medics, before he was finally diagnosed.
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