World

S. Korea reports 12 new Mers cases, total now 138; 1 more death

South Korea’s health ministry on Saturday (June 13) reported 12 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), bringing the total number of people in the country who have been infected to 138.

The ministry also said that a 14th person had died – a 68-year-old woman who contracted the virus at a hospital in Pyeongtaek City, 65km south of Seoul.

So far, all fatalities have been among elderly patients or those who had pre-existing health conditions.

The new cases include an ambulance driver who transported a 75-year-old​ woman with Mers to Samsung Medical Centre on June 7. The woman died three days later.

South Korea now has the largest outbreak of the virus outside Saudi Arabia.

The first infected patient in South Korea was diagnosed on May 20 after a trip to Saudi Arabia.​

The 68-year-old man visited four medical facilities, infecting other patients and medics, before he was finally diagnosed.

So far, all cases have been linked to health facilities.

Out of the 133 infected people whose contacts have been traced, 60 contracted the disease at Samsung Medical Centre, one of the largest hospitals in Seoul.

Authorities have sealed off at least two hospitals and about 3,500 people are in quarantine, either at home or in medical facilities.

The World Health Organization said on Saturday (June 13) that South Korea’s outbreak of Mers was "large and complex" and that more cases should be anticipated.

Sources: AFP, Reuters

MERSSouth Koreainfectious diseasemiddle eastSaudi Arabia