MERS has mainly been confined to Saudi Arabia since it first emerged a few years ago. The current outbreak in South Korea is becoming pretty interesting to watch.

The Korean government on 5 Jun 2015 named the hospital in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where 71 percent of all confirmed Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cases in South Korea have occurred since 20 May 2015, backtracking on its previous stance to withhold a list of affected facilities.

The 9 new confirmed cases bring the total 50 cases of MERS-CoV. There are 3 generations of cases:

  1. Generation no.1, the index case who traveled to the Middle East where he was infected
  2. Generation no.2 with 35 cases confirmed to date
  3. Generation 3 with 14 cases to date.

Two of the newly confirmed patients caught the disease while staying at the same hospital however the index case has been discharged. South Korean officials are suggesting that the air-conditioning system of the hospital, as well as its lack of ventilators, may have attributed to the intense spread of MERS among its patients. Civil experts who work with the government also confirmed that the virus was found in the facility’s bathrooms and doorknobs.

And amazingly the doctor, who treated the 14th confirmed MERS patient at a large general hospital in Seoul on 27 May 2015, attended 3 large-scale conferences over the weekend while showing symptoms of MERS. Brilliant!

Nationwide schools and universities have closed to prevent the spread of the disease MERS South Korea.

While the number of cases keeps growing, the Health Ministry began investigating if the virus has mutated in Korea and become more contagious. The investigation results are set to be released soon.