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S. Korea far from declaring official end to MERS outbreak

All Headlines 14:30 August 17, 2015

SEJONG, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- One patient of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) remained hospitalized in South Korea on Monday, officials said, indicating the country may still be far from an official end to the outbreak that has claimed 36 lives here so far.

As of Monday, the number of people diagnosed with MERS remained at 186, unchanged for the past 43 days, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The death toll has also remained fixed for the past 37 days.

Out of the 186 diagnosed so far, 140 have been discharged from hospitals following complete recoveries.

The remaining 10 are in hospitals, but nine of them have already tested negative for the disease, leaving only one MERS patient in the country.

Under World Health Organization regulations, an official end to the MERS outbreak can be made 28 days after the last person diagnosed with the disease tests negative, ministry officials said earlier.

They said the last patient was suffering from malignant lymphoma prior to being infected, which weakened the patient's immune system and has delayed the recovery from MERS.

South Korea declared a de facto end to the MERS outbreak on July 28, about two months after it reported its first case on May 20.

MERS is a viral respiratory disease that was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

The disease has since affected some 1,300 people throughout the world, killing about 36 percent of those infected.

In South Korea, however, the fatality rate of the disease stands at 19.4 percent.


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