MERS Virus in South Korea Causing Concern

Recently, South Korean authorities have increased the number of people quarantined and have temporarily closed many schools due to fears of the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) spreading. As of June 4, 35 South Koreans had tested positive for the virus including 2 deaths. Click on the link below to read about this from The New York Times.

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus

  • Coronavirus first isolated in 2012
  • Camels and bats established as a reservoir
  • Range of disease includes “common cold” type symptoms/signs to severe pulmonary illness
  • Majority of cases identified in regions near Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Kuwait
  • Human-human spread likely requiring close-contact
  • Symptoms: fever, cough, and dypsnea most common; also includes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Mortality: 50-65%
  • Molecular diagnostics are the method of choice: PCR assays of respiratory, stool, blood specimens
  • Treatment:
    • Cases should be reported immediately to the local and state health department
    • No antiviral therapy identified
    • Supportive care including mechanical ventilation

(Hopkins ABX Guide)

Fears of MERS Virus Prompt Broadening of Cautions in South Korea