South Korea’s MERS Case Total Rises To 41 With 4 Deaths; WHO To Send Team In Joint Mission With Government

Agence France-Presse: Seoul mayor declares ‘war’ on MERS after fourth death
“South Korea reported on Friday a fourth death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as an infected doctor fueled fears of a fresh surge in cases and prompted Seoul’s mayor to declare ‘war’ on the virus…” (Chang-Won, 6/5).

CNN: Korean Air Force member at U.S. base has MERS
“A Korean Air Force member stationed at a U.S. air base in South Korea tested positive for MERS earlier this week and remains in isolation at a military hospital on the base, a Korean Department of Defense official said…” (Kim et al., 6/5).

Deutsche Welle: WHO to send team to South Korea to respond to MERS outbreak
“…A statement posted on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website on Friday said the team, to be led by its assistant director-general for health security, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, would set up a joint mission with the South Korean health ministry…” (6/5).

New York Times: South Korea Confirms 2 More Deaths in MERS Outbreak
“The number of people who have died of Middle East respiratory syndrome in South Korea increased to four on Friday after officials confirmed two more deaths in what has become the largest outbreak of the virus outside the Middle East. As fear spread, the government of President Park Geun-hye was accused of not doing enough to contain the outbreak and of endangering the public by withholding information about it…” (Sang-Hun, 6/4).

New York Times: What You Need to Know About MERS
The newspaper offers questions and answers on basic facts regarding MERS, including what causes the illness and how it is transmitted (McNeil, 6/4).

Reuters: South Koreans squabble about MERS as more cases appear
“…With 41 cases, South Korea has the most infections outside the Middle East where the disease first appeared in 2012, and where most of the 440 fatalities have been. As the number of infections in South Korea rises daily, fear and anger are growing. South Korea’s neighbors are also increasingly concerned…” (Kim/Pearson, 6/5).

Reuters: South Korea confirms death of fourth MERS patient
“…About 1,600 people have been quarantined in South Korea, most at home but some in medical institutions. The new cases bring the total globally to about 1,185, based on WHO data, with at least 443 related deaths…” (Pearson, 6/4).

ScienceInsider: Communication gaps fuel MERS worries in Korea
“… ‘People need to understand that this virus is not circulating in the community in Korea,’ says Peter Ben Embarek, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) point person on MERS. (To epidemiologists, ‘in the community’ means outside hospitals.)…” (Kupferschmidt, 6/4).

USA TODAY: Fourth patient dies of MERS in South Korea
“…Quarantining people potentially exposed to MERS is a sound strategy to prevent spread of the virus, said Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University in Chicago. Careful infection control procedures at hospitals also can halt the spread of MERS ‘pretty quickly,’ Murphy said…” (Szabo, 6/4).

WHO: WHO and the Republic of Korea to carry out joint mission for the MERS-CoV outbreak
“…The pressing objective of this joint mission is to gain information and review the situation in the Republic of Korea including the epidemiological pattern, the characteristic of the virus, and clinical features. The team will also assess the public health response efforts and provide recommendations for response measures going forward…” (6/5).

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