SKorean MERS outbreak: 13th case confirmed

The cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea has tripled in less than a week

SKorean MERS outbreak: 13th case confirmed

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korea confirmed a 13th case of MERS on Saturday, as the country grappled with a disease that it had never encountered prior to this month.

Updating local media, the Health Ministry revealed that the latest person to come down with the respiratory illness is the husband of a woman who also tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

As panic began to spread online about the disease, which has a fatality rate of more than 40 percent, the ministry also cautioned that it would take “stern” measures against anyone spreading unfounded rumors.

South Korean social media accounts have been awash with warnings about the location of the outbreak and other details that have not been officially confirmed.

The government has come under criticism for failing to control the spread of MERS -- only four cases had been reported as recently as Tuesday.

While dozens of people have been placed under suspicion and given guidelines to limit further infections, one man managed to travel to China this week before being diagnosed with the illness on Friday.

Of the 13 patients announced so far, 10 are in the same hospital as the very first case, a 68-year-old man who returned from Bahrain earlier this month.

The hospital in question is temporarily refusing more patients -- those currently being treated for MERS are aged between 20 and 70 years old, including medical personnel.

No fatalities have been reported however, despite the poor prognosis of the disease worldwide.

The total number of countries to have been affected by MERS is now at 24 since it emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 -- with more than 1,150 people having contracted the illness, which is caused by a strain of coronavirus.

The World Health Organization is yet to restrict travel to South Korea on the basis that all of the cases are believed to be linked to the country’s original patient.

But Seoul’s Health Ministry has threatened to fine medical staff and members of the public who refuse to follow instructions aimed at containing the outbreak, including quarantine procedures.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mayıs 2015, 11:17