South Korea authorities report third death from MERS outbreak
South Korea on Thursday reported its third death from an outbreak of the MERS virus that has infected dozens of people, seen hundreds of schools closed and caused thousands to cancel travel plans.
An 82-year-old man was diagnosed with the MERS virus in a posthumous test after he died in hospital on Wednesday night, the health ministry said in a statement.
He was originally being treated for asthma and pneumonia but was placed under quarantine after other patients in his ward tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The latest case brought the total number of people diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus in South Korea to 36, the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia.
More than 900 schools, from kindergartens to colleges, have now shut their gates and the government’s MERS hotline took more than 3,000 calls on Wednesday as public fears have grown.
Before Thursday only two people — a 58-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man — had died in South Korea from the disease, which has no cure or vaccine.
The first case, reported on May 20, was of a 68-year-old man diagnosed after a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Since then, more than 1,660 people who may have been exposed to the virus have been placed under varying levels of quarantine.