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South Korea Reports One New MERS Case

  • VOA News

FILE - Members of Korea Health and Medical Workers' Union stage a rally to protest against the Samsung Medical Center's lack of control in preventing the spread of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in front of the center in Seoul, South Korea, June 19, 2015.

FILE - Members of Korea Health and Medical Workers' Union stage a rally to protest against the Samsung Medical Center's lack of control in preventing the spread of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in front of the center in Seoul, South Korea, June 19, 2015.

South Korea reported one new case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, Saturday, bringing the country's total number of cases to 182, the largest number of cases outside Saudi Arabia.

The Health Ministry said no new fatalities have been reported, leaving the death toll from the virus at 31.

The latest case involved a 27-year-old nurse at a hospital in eastern Seoul who was believed to have been infected while treating a patient.

She is the fifth confirmed case at the hospital, where more than 100 patients who were exposed to the virus while undergoing dialysis have been isolated since June 18.

Also, South Korea Saturday said it was closely monitoring a hospital in eastern Seoul over fears that hundreds of people there may have been exposed to the deadly MERS virus, the French news agency AFP reported.

A 70-year-old woman who caught MERS while visiting an infected relative in a different hospital was feared to have spread the virus to the new site, according to AFP.

Officials blamed

The World Health Organization last week blamed the extent of the outbreak in South Korea on the failure by authorities there to implement adequate control measures.

WHO said there was a lack of awareness about the risks of MERS among health care workers, and that hospitals' infection prevention and control measures were not adequate.

However, the U.N. agency said the outbreak is not yet considered a public health emergency of international concern.

MERS symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath – all of which are also typically associated with non-serious illnesses such as the common cold.

Some material for this report came from Reuters and AFP.

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