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

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

A microscopic view of the MERS coronavirus, which has so far killed 173 people in Saudi Arabia
A microscopic view of the MERS coronavirus. (Image: AFP)

SEOUL: 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 (Sep 8).

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

"Authorities have traced and separated 20 people who have come in close contact with the infected person," KCDC head Chung Eun-gyeong told journalists.

They include medical staff, flight attendants and passengers of the plane the man flew back to South Korea on, she said.

He was hospitalised with fever and phlegm and has been quarantined at a university hospital, she added.

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."

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

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.

Source: Reuters/AFP/aj