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South Korea sees first case of MERS in about three years

/ 09:56 PM September 08, 2018
Chung Eun-kyung

Chung Eun-kyung, chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announces the first case of MERS in three years on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. (Yonhap via The Korea Herald)

A patient in Seoul was diagnosed on Saturday with the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea since 2015.

The 61-year-old man, whose identity was withheld, was diagnosed with the disease at about 4 p.m. Saturday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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He returned home Friday from a business trip to Kuwait from Aug. 16 to Sept. 6. He was hospitalized right after the trip showing symptoms of fever and phlegm and has since been receiving quarantine treatment at Seoul National University Hospital in central Seoul.

It is the first case of MERS diagnosed in South Korea since 2015, when an outbreak killed 38 people and triggered widespread panic.

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As part of efforts to effectively control the new outbreak, the government raised the status of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to that of a vice-ministerial level organization.

The patient, meanwhile, was confirmed to have visited Samsung Medical Center in southern Seoul before moving to the current hospital, according to sources in the medical scene.

The Samsung hospital said it put some patients who had a personal contact with him in quarantine and was checking if they were infected with the disease.

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TAGS: MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
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