South Korea declares country effectively out of MERS danger

admin   •   July 29, 2015   •   2498

Women wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) walk at Myeongdong shopping district in central Seoul, South Korea, July 9, 2015. REUTERS/KIM HONG-JI

Women wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) walk at Myeongdong shopping district in central Seoul, South Korea, July 9, 2015.
REUTERS/KIM HONG-JI

South Korea declared on Tuesday it is effectively out of danger from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), more than two months after the first case was reported and began spreading in hospital settings to kill 36 people.

The outbreak grew to become the largest outside Saudi Arabia, infecting 186 people and at its peak putting nearly 17,000 in quarantine. It was traced to a man who returned from a business trip to the Middle East in May.

“It is the assessment of the government and the medical community that the public can rest easy,” Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn told a government meeting on public health.

Twelve people remain hospitalized in South Korea and under treatment for MERS although only one is still testing positive for the MERS virus, the Health Ministry said, adding that no new cases have been reported since July 4. Health experts say the virus has an incubation period of about two weeks.

The outbreak has dealt a major blow to an already weakened economy, knocking second-quarter growth to its worst in more than six years as it closed thousands of schools, kept consumers at home and scared foreign tourists into cancelling trips.

The schools have reopened and shoppers are back in the stores, but officials are keen to repair lingering damage to sentiment.

Hwang said it was too early to declare the outbreak over but urged the public to return to normal daily life. He added that the government would implement reforms to fix health care shortcomings exposed during the outbreak, although he did not specify what steps it would take.

MERS infection is linked to the same family of coronaviruses that triggered a deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

British health authorities are investigating two suspected cases of MERS in northern England. Twenty-six countries have reported cases since 2012.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

Trial drug for 2019 nCoV now ready to be administered to over 700 patients

Maris Federez   •   February 7, 2020

China’s health authorities have announced that registration for clinical trials on a potential antiviral drug for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been approved.

The antiviral drug called “Remdesivir” will be made available to the more than 700 patients that tested positive of the 2019 nCoV in Wuhan City, China for its clinical trial.

Authorities said that aside from the 2019 nCoV, the drug can also be used to fight Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and even Ebola infection.

Remdesivir was developed by the American pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Health Commission, and the National Medical Products Administration support the approval of the said drug. —(details from Grace Casin) /mbmf

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Asymptomatic transmission of 2019-nCoV, other coronaviruses, unusual occurrence — WHO

Maris Federez   •   February 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The possibility of asymptomatic transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is rather slim.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that during previous outbreaks due to other coronaviruses such as Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), human to human transmission occurred through droplets, contacts, and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the 2019-nCoV can be similar.

This is WHO’s response to a report that a businessman in Germany contracted the virus from a Chinese national from China who had not even shown any symptoms of the disease.

After several days, three of the German businessman’s colleagues had also been reportedly tested positive of the virus.

Meanwhile, based on the protocol being implemented by the Department of Health (DOH), an individual who is not showing any symptoms of the 2019-nCoV even if he has gone to a place where the case of the virus is high does not necessarily have to undergo quarantine.

“Although we are encouraging them to still be conscious sa kanilang kalusugan. Pero sila po ay na-clear na at base sa kanilang laboratory ay negative sila sa nCoV”,  said Dr. Ferchito Avelino, DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director.

Moreover, even those patients under investigation (PUI) or who had shown symptoms but yielded negative after being tested twice will be discharged and allowed to go home.

“Hanggat hindi nasatisfy yang two negative tests results saka na natin siya pwedeng paalisin”, said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III. — (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf

South Korean man infected by MERS virus, first case in 3 years

UNTV News   •   September 10, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) walk past a thermal imaging camera at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Photo: Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean man, 61, was diagnosed with the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and is being treated at a hospital in Seoul, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Saturday.

The patient returned to Seoul on Friday after a business trip to Kuwait from August 16 to Sept. 6, according to the KCDC.

This is the first time since July 2015 that an outbreak of MERS has been reported in South Korea.

“As far as found by now, 20 people including flight attendants and medical staff have been in close contact with the patient and they are under isolation at home,” KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a press briefing.

The patient, who was suffering from diarrhea, headed directly to Samsung Medical Center from the airport, Jeong said. He is now in an isolation ward at Seoul National University Hospital.

The KCDC director said all flights from Middle East countries have been put into quarantine. “The KCDC and local governments will do our best to prevent spread of the MERS,” Jeong noted.

The infectious disease swept South Korea in 2015 leading to 38 fatalities. MERS is thought to be carried by camels and most of the known human-to-human transmission has occurred in healthcare settings.

Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Catherine Evans

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