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While South Korea has been grappling to contain a sudden outbreak of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic, a lethal viral respiratory illness, in the country, the Middle East region, where the virus first detected, continues to report new infection cases despite limited global attention.


In Saudi Arabia, where world’s first MERS case was discovered, the country’s health ministry reported on Monday six more cases in its eastern city of Hofuf, with two of them in critical condition. It also reported four more deaths in previous reported cases.
According to the health authorities, all of the six new infections had contact with either suspected or confirmed cases.
The new cases have brought the whole number of confirmed MERS cases in the Kingdom to 1016 since 2012 when the first case was reported, while the death toll climbed to 447, resulting in a death rate as staggeringly high as 40.7 percent.
In Oman, a 75-year-old, who suffers severe pneumonia and high fever, was confirmed being infected by the MERS virus, and is stable in hospital and isolated, according to the nation’s health ministry.
Last month, the United Arab Emirates said that two of its MERS patients in Abu Dhabi were tested negative for the infection after 14 days of isolation in a local hospital.
Meanwhile, countries in the region like Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen have also in the past reported MERS cases, while the surge in the area seems to be seasonal.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a typical case of MERS infection involves with such symptoms as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
So far as the scientists know, the virus is contracted through exposure to infected individuals, either from health facilities like hospitals, or by direct contact with camels, which are believed to be carriers of the virus.
The WHO said the MERS epidemic does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, which explains why there have been clusters of infections at health-care facilities where human transmission could be more efficient and convenient.
Despite the fact that the deadly disease have been around for years, and caused so many deaths, there is still no cure or vaccine for MERS, while current treatment has largely been supportive care.
Since the first outbreak of MERS in 2012, Riyadh has twice replaces its health ministers, while the country’s health authorities have urged its nationals to stay away from consuming camel meat or milk.
What also should be noted is that it usually takes about five days to two weeks before the virus can produce symptoms once an individual is being infected. The disease could pose even greater risk of developing severe MERS symptoms for those who already have diabetes, cardiac conditions, or lung problems. Enditem



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