Doctor’s illness pushes Korea’s MERS total to 181

Saturday, June 27, 2015
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
Jun 26, 2015

As MERS-CoV activity continued to taper off in South Korea, the country reported one new infection and two more deaths today, as its lawmakers took steps to tighten up quarantine measures.

The latest developments edge the number of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases to 181 and the fatality count to 31.

And Chinese health officials said today that a South Korean business traveler whose infection was detected in Guangdong province has been released from the hospital and returned to South Korea today, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported.

The man, who contracted the virus from his father who shared a room with South Korea’s index patient, was a family contact of two people infected early in the country’s nosocomial outbreak.

Doctor’s infection points to PPE gaps
The newly reported case-patient is a 26-year-old male doctor at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, the hardest-hit facility in the healthcare-linked outbreak, the Korea Herald reported today.

The doctor was exposed to the virus while treating an emergency worker who took a MERS patient to the hospital, according to the report. It added that Korea’s MERS total includes four doctors at Samsung Medical Center.

Insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) has played a role in health worker infections, the Herald reported, citing health officials. Protocols that were in place until Jun 17 at Samsung left workers’ necks and ankles exposed.

The two latest patients who died from MERS-CoV had chronic medical conditions and cancer, according to a Korea Times report.

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