MERS Virus Hits South Korea

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus causes severe respiratory illness and has been linked to more than 400 deaths since the illness was identified in Jordan in April, 2012. The first case outside of the Arabian Peninsula was reported in South Korea in late May; since then, 41 total cases have been traced to a cluster of Korean hospitals, and more than 1300 are in quarantine because of exposure to the virus. The illness was apparently brought to Korea by a man who traveled to four countries in the Middle East; China is also reporting its first MERS case, which appears to be the result of a visit to China by a South Korean man. Consortium member Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) has almost-daily updates about the outbreak on its website, and Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP has been interviewed by many news outlets including National Public Radio, Time Magazine, USA Today, and CBC News.