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Homeland Security

7th Person Dies of MERS in South Korea

by VOA News June 08, 2015

The South Korean Health Ministry has announced the death of a seventh person from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS.

The ministry said Tuesday that the victim is a 68-year-old woman who had been in the emergency room of a Seoul hospital, where previous infections have taken place.

It also said there are eight new cases of the outbreak, bringing the total number of infections to 95.

The outbreak has led to more than 2,500 people being placed under quarantine for suspected contact with MERS patients. Health officials say they are tracking the quarantined people's cell phone signals to make sure they abide by the quarantine measures.

South Korea also has closed down nearly 2,000 schools in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

All cases of the infections have taken place in health care facilities.

On Sunday, the government reversed its policy and revealed the 24 health care facilities where MERS patients have been diagnosed or treated. The revelation of the names of the facilities follows the discovery that one location had an unusually high number of MERS cases.

Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said Sunday that because all the MERS cases have been hospital associated, 'we think we have a chance at putting the outbreak under total control.'

MERS, a coronavirus, is related to the one that infected thousands during the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. It has no cure or vaccine. MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has spread to several other countries.

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