MERS Virus Outbreak Continues To Worsen As 6 Now Dead In South Korea

MERS Virus Outbreak Continues To Worsen As 6 Now Dead In South Korea

The picture in South Korea, the country hardest hit by the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, continued to worsen this weekend.

South Korea reported its sixth death from MERS on Monday, and said it has now confirmed 87 cases. That represents a shockingly high death rate, especially for a developed country.

More than 2,500 people remain quarantined and 1,800 schools remain closed.

The latest death was of an 80-year-old man who was in hospital in Daejeon, South Korea’s fifth largest city.

The virus is most deadly in the young and old, taking advantage of weakened immune systems.

First emerging three years ago, the virus is not well understood. While researchers continue to study it, the exact transmission mechanism isn’t yet known, which means elaborate precautions must be taken.

According to the CDC, these include:”

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, or sharing cups or eating utensils, with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • The first case in South Korea was reported on May 20th

    But South Korea is not the only country to see the virus. As of last Wednesday, 1,179 cases of MERS have been confirmed in 25 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

    The United States accounted for two of those cases, though both were health workers who had lived in Saudi Arabia.