South Korea Reports 2 More Deaths and 1 New Case of MERS

D-Bo , June 25, 2015, 9:36 a.m.

South Korea reported an additional two deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Thursday, along with an additional case that put the total number of people diagnosed with the disease at 180. With the latest fatalities, the country's death toll came to 29, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The fatality rate of the disease in the country climbed to over 16 percent. The new patient reportedly caught the disease while sharing the same hospital room with a MERS patient at a hospital in Busan, prior to the latter's diagnosis. Out of the 180 diagnosed, 77 patients remain hospitalized while 62 of them are currently in stable condition, according to ministry officials.

So far, 74 people previously diagnosed with MERS have been discharged from hospitals following complete recoveries. In addition to those diagnosed, 2,642 others are in isolation for possible infection after coming in close contact with MERS patients. The number dropped from 3,103 on the previous day.

Since the country reported its first case on May 20, some 14,500 people have been subject to isolation as suspected cases while 11,936 of them have been released after showing no symptoms of the disease for more than the known maximum incubation period of 14 days.

Nearly all infections here so far have occurred at hospitals with the World Health Organization also pointing to the country's tradition of family members staying with their loved ones in hospital rooms as a major factor driving the outbreak of MERS here.

Some 90 hospitals throughout the country have been affected by the disease, while only 19 of them still remain on the watchlist as it has been less than 14 days since they last reported a MERS case or were visited by a known patient.

The list is daily updated and available at the ministry's Web site. MERS is a viral respiratory disease first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There currently is no vaccine or treatment for the disease that had a very high fatality rate of over 40 percent until the outbreak here.

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