The South Korean Health Ministry has said that Saturday was the first time in more than two weeks in which no new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cases were reported, but the virus claimed its 25th victim since an outbreak that affected 166 people throughout the country. Thailand, which confirmed its first MERS case on Thursday from a medical tourist, has also yet to report any new infections.
The number of MERS cases in South Korea has stabilized at 166 in the last 24 hours, but a 63-year old man infected with the virus died in Jeonju on late Saturday. The man had contracted the virus while visiting the emergency room of the reputed Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul, where his wife was being treated for cancer. The Samsung Medical Center was one of the primary infection hubs of the transmissible disease since the outbreak started in late May.
However, six patients seem to have fully recovered from the disease and were permitted to leave the hospitals, with the number of infected patients under treatment now being 106. Moreover, quarantine restrictions for more than 700 people were also lifted the same day, as the number of people held under observation is now around 5,200.
The outbreak in South Korea seems to be leveling down, as on Friday there was only one new infection case the whole day, marking the lowest rate of MERS infection in the country since the 20th of May, when the first case was signaled.
In Thailand, health ministry officials said that the condition of the 75-year old Omani businessman who was discovered to have the disease on Thursday was slightly better. The case, discovered at a private hospital in Bangkok known for treating large numbers of medical tourists, had put the Thai authorities on high alert, but apparently all of the 106 people who flew in with the same plane like him did not contract the virus – including his two sons who accompanied him, who were thought of being at high risk of infection.
The 75-year old businessman originally travelled to Thailand to receive treatment for a heart disease. No other indicators of new MERS cases were signalled throughout the country.
However, security measures were tightened after the case was announced, with the main airport in Thailand’s capital Bangkok installing thermoscan equipment meant to detect arriving passengers who have a fever, which is one of the primary symptoms of MERS. Free alcoholic gel dispensers and surgical masks have also been offered to passengers as preventive measures.
Image Source: Youth Health Mag