South Korea Confirms 3 More MERS Deaths and 4 New Cases

kpride, June 16, 2015, 9:34 a.m.

South Korea reported three more deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 19. The country also reported four new cases of the viral respiratory illness that put the total number of people diagnosed with the disease at 154.

One of the deceased was a 49-year-old patient who became the youngest person here to die from the viral respiratory illness, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Medical experts had maintained the disease was mostly critical to the elderly and those with existing health problems.

However, the latest fatalities included two people who had no known medical conditions prior to their diagnosis. So far, four out of the 19 who died from MERS had no medical issues before they were infected with MERS.

Three of the four new patients were infected while visiting Seoul's Samsung Medical Center, which has been a major source of infections, according to the health ministry. The hospital, run by the country's largest conglomerate Samsung Group, has voluntarily shut down most of its operations until June 24, at the earliest.

At least three other hospitals, including Seoul's Boramae Medical Center and the Korea Cancer Center Hospital, have temporarily shut down their emergency rooms, which is where most transmissions occurred after they had unknowingly treated MERS patients or carriers.

Out of 154 people diagnosed with the disease so far, 17 have been discharged following complete recoveries as of Tuesday, the ministry said. Some 5,580 others are currently in isolation for possible infection after coming in close contact with MERS patients.

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