South Korea’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday confirmed the death of two more people as a result of being infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), with the outbreak of the virus spreading around South Korea a further 13 new cases have been diagnosed, bringing the total to 108.
The two deaths, bring the total deceased to nine. All of the deceased were suffering from several side effects before they tested positive for MERS, the ministry said. The newly diagnosed 13 people were all traced back to hospitals, the ministry added.
Symptoms of MERS vary from fever, cough, diarrhea and loss of breath. The virus generally develops in less than two weeks. MERS spreads when in close contact with a carrier of the virus either from a human or animal. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first diagnosed in 2012, the cause was linked with human contact with infected camels.
The disease is believed to have spread from an individual travelling from the Middle East to South Korea, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The 68-year-old man arrived in a Seoul hospital for treatment but was not isolated immediately because MERS was not suspected by Medical doctors, according to the WHO.
South Korea is home to the second largest number of patients infected by the virus, trailing Saudi Arabia, according to reports from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
On Tuesday, the ministry of health confirmed the seventh death as a result of MERS in South Korea. The 68-year-old woman, prior to her diagnosis was suffering from a heart condition and had been located at Seoul hospital, where most of the MERS related deaths occurred.
A number of countries have provisioned travel to South Korea with Hong Kong issuing a travel warning “red alert” on Tuesday against nonessential travel to South Korea.
The Chinese territory of Macau made compulsory for people entering local healthcare facilities to wear masks as a safeguard against MERS, and also released a travel advisory announcement, urging people to not travel to South Korea unless it is absolutely necessary.
Singaporean authorities have said they will start examining the body temperature of passengers arriving from South Korea from Tuesday onwards.