MERS-CoV spreads in South Korea

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Typical MERS symptoms include: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported.

MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus that is transmitted from animals to humans. The origins of the virus are not fully understood. However, it is believed that it originated in bats and was transmitted to camels in the distant past.

The virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient. As consequence human-to-human transmission appears to be more probable in healthcare facilities especially when infection prevention and control practices are inadequate.

According to ECDC (May 15), a total of 1142 cases of MERS from 23 countries were reported, of which 465 patients died. According to WHO there are 108 confirmed cases, 107 in South Korea, 1 case in China and 9 deaths (as of June 10, 2015)

Related links:

MERS-CoV in the Republic of Korea at a glance as of 10 June 2015

For detailed information visit South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare’s website

Fact Sheet on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

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