No more MERS infection reported in RoK for 6 days after 1st case found

Thursday, 2018-09-13 21:48:38
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No more infection with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been reported in the Republic of Korea (RoK) for six days as of Thursday (September 13) after the first case was found, according to the country's health authorities.

The first case was a 61-year-old Korean man, who was diagnosed on September 8 with the viral disease one day after returning home from Kuwait.

The patient had been on a business trip to the Middle East country from August 16 to September 6. He reportedly suffered from diarrhea before arriving at the Incheon International Airport. He directly moved by taxi to the Samsung Medical Center in Seoul.

The patient has been in an isolation ward at the Seoul National University Hospital.

It marked the first time since July 2015 that the infectious disease case was reported in the RoK. The potentially fatal disease swept the country in the year, infecting 186 people and claiming the lives of 38 patients.

At the time, RoK became the most MERS-infectious country outside the Middle East.

MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a new type of corona virus and carried by camels. There is no known vaccine or treatment for the viral disease, which can be transmitted from human to human.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) tested 21 people, who came in close contacts with the first MERS patient, again Thursday as half of the two-week incubation period went by. They will get another test a week later before being released.

The number of people believed to have contacted the first confirmed patient was 431 as of Thursday, but they had a low possibility to have been infected.

Eleven people, who showed symptoms of MERS such as coughing and fever, have all tested negative for the disease.

The number of foreign travelers, who were believed to have contacted the confirmed patient but were not located by the health authorities, reduced to four after peaking at about 50.

The health authorities had difficulties tracking down the foreign tourists, most of whom did not have local phone numbers.

Xinhua