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

UNTV News   •   September 10, 2018   •   3790

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

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

Norovirus outbreak worsens though athletes unaffected

UNTV News   •   February 9, 2018

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games logo is seen at the the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea, September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) – The number of people struck down by a virus causing vomiting and diarrhoea at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics has more than doubled to 86, though athletes remain unaffected, the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

After an initial 32 cases were reported on Tuesday, 54 new cases have been confirmed as of late Wednesday, with police officers, security personnel and food preparation staff among those affected, KCDC Director Kim Hyun-jun told reporters.

The virus broke out ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony and led to some 1,200 security staff being quarantined. Organizers have had to call in military personnel to replace them.

“In order to stop the further outbreak of the virus we’re quarantining patients beginning from the diagnosis to the treatment. We’re going to minimize this outbreak,” Kim said on Wednesday night.

He added that January and February were “peak season” for the virus but fortunately athletes remained unaffected.

“There’s no confirmed cases and that’s the most important thing here, that when the athletes come to Korea they demonstrate their performance after a few years of training,” said Kim.

“In order to prevent any kind of accident that will prevent them from competing well and enjoying the Games we’re doing our best.”

An outbreak of the highly contagious virus at last year’s world athletics championships in London forced athletes from several countries to miss events.

Kim said anyone confirmed to have contracted the virus could be out of action for up to three days.

“After the diagnosis you’re removed from your accommodation facility if you have the virus. The quarantine usually ends in 48 or 72 hours.”

Additional reporting by Yuna Park; Editing by Mark Bendeich

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