Joint MERS mission finds control lapses in complex outbreak

Sunday, June 14, 2015
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
CIDRAP News
Jun 13, 2015

A joint mission between the World Health Organization (WHO) and South Korean health officials to probe a MERS-CoV outbreak triggered by an infected traveler said the event is large and complex, but noted that the pattern resembles similar hospital-linked outbreaks in the Middle East.

The outbreak, which began with a single infected traveler in the middle of May, showed another spike in cases and deaths today, as South Korean health officials reported 12 more infections and 3 more deaths that boost the total to 138 illnesses, 14 of them fatal.

The closely watched event has shown how quickly MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) can spread, even in a developed nation’s best hospitals.

South Korea’s surge of cases has raised worries about possible changes in the virus, but the joint mission said infection control lapses have played a role in the spread and that so far early gene sequencing studies have not found changes that would make the virus more transmissible.

Joint mission findings

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