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Deadly MERS virus infects 18 people in South Korea

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Deadly MERS virus infects 18 people in South Korea


Doctors in China have confirmed a man from South Korea is receiving treatment for the deadly virus MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

The 44-year-old had close contact with MERS patients in South Korea nearly two weeks ago before flying to Hong Kong and onto China.

“There should be no deaths and tertiary transmissions,” said Kim Woo-joo, from the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases who confirmed that five people in one group of 18 are in a serious condition. “They have pneumonia symptoms and have been put on respirators,” he said.

The South Korean president said a task force to deal with any spread of the virus has been set up.

MERS in humans was first identified in 2012. It’s caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China’s outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003.

Meanwhile the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is investigating how live anthrax samples ended up in South Korea at an Army lab, leading to more than two dozen people receiving treatment for possible exposure at Osan Air Base, according to CDC spokesman Jason McDonald.

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