South Korea confirmed a fourth case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Tuesday, while reporting an additional two suspected cases.
The fourth case of the viral disease was confirmed in a daughter of the third patient, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The center, however, said the new patient is believed to have contracted the virus from the first patient instead of her 76-year-old father, who had shared the same hospital room with the first patient, noting she had also stayed in the room with the first patient for four hours while tending to her father.
Whether or not she contracted the virus from the first patient is critical to how the CDC will deal with the new disease as contraction of the disease from the patient's own father would mean a secondary infection, which may require additional quarantine steps.
The latest patient was placed in isolation at her own home shortly after the father was diagnosed Thursday. She was sent to a state-designated hospital where she tested positive for the MERS Coronavirus after her fever rose to over 38 degrees Celsius earlier Tuesday.
She was one of 64 people who had been put in isolation after the country's first-ever patient, a 68-year-old male, was diagnosed last week.
The CDC said two more suspected cases have been found in a doctor and a nurse who had treated the first patient.
MERS is a viral respiratory illness that is fairly new to humans, with only 1,142 reported cases in 23 countries since the first case was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There currently is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which has a very high fatality rate of 40.7 percent.
The CDC earlier said the first patient had traveled to the Middle East in mid-April and returned home May 4. All three other confirmed cases, including his wife, are believed to have been transmitted from him. (Yonhap)