Last S Korea MERS patient re-diagnosed with virus

2015-10-13 08:47
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - A South Korean man believed cured of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been re-diagnosed with the deadly virus, health officials said on Tuesday.

The diagnosis deals a blow to Seoul's hopes of being declared free of a disease that has infected 186 people in South Korea, killing 36 of them, since its outbreak in May.

World Health Organisation standards call for a four-week waiting period after the last MERS patient fully recovers before an outbreak can be said definitively to be over.

MERS is believed to have originated in camels in the Middle East. Its symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

The 35-year-old man was initially diagnosed in May, and released from hospital on October 3 after twice testing negative for the virus.

Little risk

But he was readmitted with a fever on Sunday and diagnosed with MERS on Monday, the health ministry said in a statement.

Officials said doctors detected virus genes in his system, but could not confirm whether it was a fresh case or if the previous infection had returned.

Authorities scrambled to quarantine 61 people who had come into contact with the man, though experts said the chances of the disease having spread were small.

"It is hard to say that the virus is alive and multiplying in the patient's body," Professor Kim Nam-Joong of Seoul National University told reporters.

"There is little risk of the patient infecting others," he added.

Before Monday's diagnosis, no new MERS cases or fatalities had been reported since July.

Anxious parents

The virus is considered a deadlier but less infectious cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed hundreds of people when it appeared in Asia in 2003.

Criticised for its initial response to the outbreak, South Korea introduced sweeping quarantine measures that saw nearly 17 000 people confined to their homes.

Thousands of schools were closed at the peak of the outbreak, as anxious parents kept their children home.

The outbreak took a heavy toll on the national economy, stifling consumer spending and devastating the tourist sector.

Local businesses including shopping malls, restaurants and cinemas reported a sharp drop in sales as people shunned public venues with large crowds.

Read more on:    south korea  |  mers  |  health

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.