Key hospital named in Korean MERS cluster; WHO plans mission

Saturday, June 6, 2015
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
CIDRAP News
Jun 05, 2015

South Korean officials named the hospital linked to 30 of 41 MERS-CoV infections reported so far, and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a joint mission to investigate the outbreak and filled in details of six of the recent cases, one of them fatal.

Officials from South Korea’s health ministry today identified the hospital linked to the largest portion of the MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infections as St Mary’s in Pyeongtaek, a town about 40 miles south of Seoul, the New York Times reported today. They said 30 of 41 patients in the outbreak have ties to St Mary’s hospital, where the index patient was treated between May 15 and 17.

The 250-bed hospital was closed on May 29, and health officials are asking anyone who had been at the facility between May 15 and 29 to contact authorities.

Until now, the government has avoided naming the institutions for fear of fueling misunderstanding and panic. Earlier this week officials said 14 health facilities—13 hospitals and 3 small clinics—had received a confirmed MERS-CoV patient at least once.

Six hospitals have links to MERS-CoV patients, according to the Times report.

WHO adds details for 6 cases
South Korea didn’t announce any new MERS-CoV cases today, but the WHO posted a statement covering reports of 6 cases and 1 death that it received from the country on Jun 4, several of which appear to be tertiary cases.

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