South Korea has confirmed three cases of a virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that has killed hundreds of people in the Middle East.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 76-year-old man was diagnosed with MERS on May 21. The patient had shared a hospital room with a man who was first confirmed case of MERS in South Korea, said agency chief Yang Byung-Guk. The first patient was not isolated because the reason for his illness was not known.
Yang said, "The first patient had visited Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. His wife also contracted MERS." All the three patients are not in critical condition but they are being treated in hospitals. The family members of the confirmed MERS patients and 64 hospital workers have been quarantined, Yang said.
MERS belongs to the family of coronaviruses, it was discovered in 2012 and has been centered in Saudi Arabia. The symptoms of MERS include fever, cough, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure. The virus is thought to be acquired through contact with camels. It can also spread from ill patients through human fluids and droplets.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, a total of 1,142 cases have been reported worldwide and 465 have succumbed to the virus, out of the fatalities 428 have been recorded in Saudi Arabia.