No daily MERS cases, deaths added in S Korea

Updated: 2015-06-20 15:25


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SEOUL - No case of infection with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was added in South Korea Saturday, leaving the total contagion cases at 166, the health ministry said.

It marked the first time since June 3 when the first wave of contagion abated with no infection identified, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The first wave had been triggered by the patient zero, called super spreader as he infected more than 30 people.

The second wave was triggered by the 14th patient, also called super spreader as he infected nearly 80 people at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul.

The number of fresh cases declined recently from eight on Wednesday to three on Thursday and one on Friday.

The second wave of MERS spread was believed to be stopped as no new case was discovered.

No death was reported Saturday, leaving the death toll at 24 and the fatality rate at 14.5 percent.

Six people were discharged from hospitals as they completely recovered after having been infected, bringing the total hospital discharge to 36.

Excluding the dead and those discharged, 106 patients are under treatment for the viral disease. Among them, 15 patients are in unstable conditions.

The country's MERS crisis showed signs of calming down, but concerns remained as another super spreader may emerge, leaving the health authorities still on alert.

The 137th infectee had worked at the Samsung hospital to transport patients for nine days even after developing symptoms of the viral disease on June 2. Fortunately, no case from the infectee has been confirmed yet.

No other case from potential super spreaders was identified, raising hopes for the end of the MERS crisis before July.

The MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a new type of corona-virus, similar to the SARS virus that killed more than 770 people worldwide following a 2003 outbreak. There is no known vaccine or cure for the MERS.

The first MERS case was spotted in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The World Health Organization has reported more than 1,000 cases of MERS globally and more than 400 deaths.