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Eight more in South Korea catch MERS

June 17, 2015, 8:31 UTC+3 SEOUL

The total number of the infected has reached 162

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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

SEOUL, June 17. /TASS/. Eight new cases of MERS were registered in South Korea over past 24 hours, thus the total number of the infected reached 162, the healthcare ministry said on Wednesday.

South Korea registered the first case on May 20. The virus was brought to the country by its national who had returned from a trip to the Middle East countries.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory infection caused by the newly identified MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that is new to humans. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and since then has spread to several other countries - Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France - the total of 23 countries, where over 1,100 cases of infected patients have been registered, of which 40% had lethal outcomes.

Most MERS-CoV patients develop severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and trouble breathing. About 3-4 out of every 10 MERS patients die. MERS-CoV is spread through close contact.

South Korea became the second country in the world in the number of MERS cases after Saudi Arabia, where more than 1,000 people have been infected since 2012.

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