Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – MERS – South KoreaSince May this year, after 36 deaths and 186 infections that followed the first diagnosis, South Korea’s Prime Minister declared the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – MERS, a `de facto end’. Mr Hwang stated that there were no new infections for the last 23 days and the people could `now be free from worry’.
According to Yonhap news agency it was reported that he had also apologised for the government’s criticised response to the virus that had killed some of the people in South Korea. However, World Health Organization stated that it was not declared that Mers was officially over.According to a spokeswoman in Manila it was informed that the World Health Organisation needed 28 days without any new infection in order to make the announcement, which is twice the incubation period of the virus and the last case had been confirmed on 4th July in South Korea.
As per AFP news agency report, Health Ministry official of South Korea, Kwon Duk-cheol had said that precautions, inclusive of screening at airports would have to remain in place, `till the situations comes to a formal end. With several arrivals coming from the Middle East, there could be a possibility of new patients coming in’.
Causes of MERSMiddle East Respiratory Syndrome – Mers is caused –
- Due to corona virus, a kind of virus that includes common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome – Sars
- First case came from the Middle East in 2012 while the first death in Saudi Arabia was in June the same year
- It is believed to have originated from camels, but the transmission to humans is not clear
- The virus does not tend to pass easily from humans, though infections usually takes place in people who could have close contact with infected person
- Patients who may have fever, cough and breathing problems. Mers could also cause pneumonia as well as kidney failure
- Around 36% of reported patients with Mers have died and there is no vaccine or a specific treatment.
Condition First Identified in 2012Mr Hwang while in talks in Seoul had said that `after weighing several circumstances, the medical personnel and the government, judge that the people can now be free from worry’. According to the Yonhap news agency report, he had asked the people to shake off the concern over Mers and continue with the normal daily routine, including economic, cultural, leisure and school activities.
Mers had appeared in South Korea that was brought by a man who had visited the Middle East, on 26 May, where the condition was first identified in 2012. The only outbreak outside Middle East - South Korea, had confirmed 186 infections with 36 deaths. The outbreak as well as the subsequent quarantine together with the restrictions on the daily life had a very tragic effect on the economy wherein tourism was reduced to 40% in foreign visitors.
The government was accused for being slow in reacting to the crisis wherein most of the infections took place at health centres that were not sufficiently prepared for an infectious disease. Recently the government had approved an 11.5tn won package in order to support the struggling economy.