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South Korea Reports 154 MERS Cases, 3 Additional Deaths; Hospitals Tighten Quarantine Measures, Test Experimental Treatments; Frustrations Mount Over Lack Of Vaccine

Reuters: South Korea reports four new MERS cases, three more deaths
“South Korea’s health ministry reported four new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Tuesday, bringing the total to 154 in an outbreak that is the largest outside Saudi Arabia. The ministry also said three patients infected with the MERS virus had died, taking the death toll to 19 in an outbreak that began in May” (Park, 6/15).

Reuters: Schools reopen as South Korea seeks normality amid MERS outbreak
“Thousands of South Korean schools that were shut to stop the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reopened on Monday as the country sought to return to normal, nearly four weeks into an outbreak that shows signs of slowing…” (Oh, 6/15).

Reuters: South Korea conducts experimental plasma therapy on MERS patients
“Two South Korean hospitals are conducting experimental treatment on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) patients, injecting them with blood plasma from recovering patients, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as four new cases were reported…” (Kim, 6/16).

Reuters: Why no MERS vaccine? Lack of foresight frustrates scientists
“Three years after the mysterious MERS virus first emerged in humans, scientists and drugmakers say there is no excuse for not having a vaccine that could have protected those now falling sick and dying in South Korea…” (Kelland/Hirschler, 6/15).

Wall Street Journal: MERS: South Korea Tightens Quarantines to Prevent Spread
“…As South Korea seeks to prevent spread of the virus, it has tightened quarantines that were initially blamed for being too lax and allowing MERS to spread. The nation’s first outbreak of the virus began when a man returned from the Middle East and visited several hospitals seeking medical help before being diagnosed and quarantined on May 20…” (Kwaak, 6/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.