Fears over MERS Subsiding Amid No New Cases


Anchor: Fears over another possible outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) appear to have subsided after no further cases have emerged since the first case in over three years was reported five days ago. However, health authorities are still on alert as they have yet to find some ten people who were on board the same plane as patient zero.

Our Bae Joo-yon has more.

Report: The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(KCDC) said Wednesday that one person who came into close contact with the recently confirmed MERS patient and nine people who had "ordinary" contact showed symptoms of fever and coughing, but they all tested negative.

Health authorities will continue to monitor them during the incubation period, which ranges from two days to 14 days.

In a separate move, a South Korean woman who had shown signs of MERS after returning home from the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday also tested negative for the highly infectious disease in a preliminary examination. If she again tests negative in another round of testing, she'll no longer be categorized as a suspected MERS case.

Meanwhile, the condition of patient zero has stabilized. According to the Seoul National University Hospital, where the 61-year-old man is being treated, the patient was suffering no serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath, since becoming hospitalized after testing positive for MERS last Saturday. A hospital official said given that recuperation period varies with each individual, the hospital will monitor the patient for at least another week.

As of six p.m. Tuesday, the number of people who had come in close contact with patient zero remains unchanged at 21.

However, the number of people who came into ordinary contact rose to 435, up 17 from the previous day. They have not been quarantined, but they have to report their health conditions every day to officials.

Authorities are also still trying to identify the whereabouts of ten foreigners who entered the nation on board the same plane as patient zero.

Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.

Source: KBS World Radio