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S. Korea reports seventh MERS death, 8 new cases

South Korea confirmed another death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and reported eight new cases Tuesday, raising the number of infections to 95.

The latest fatality, the seventh since the country first reported the outbreak on May 20, was a 68-year-old woman who had already been suffering from chronic heart conditions, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

She was hospitalized at Seoul's Samsung Medical Center on May 27-28, during which she came in close contact with a MERS patient.

The total number of people diagnosed with the disease came to 95 as the country confirmed eight new cases.

Children wear masks to prevent MERS infection. (Yonhap)
Children wear masks to prevent MERS infection. (Yonhap)

All eight new patients were infected after coming in close contact with those previously diagnosed at five hospitals, including Asan Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in the capital.

The number of MERS patients was expected to rise by at least one after the health ministry said that a pregnant woman has tested positive for the potentially deadly disease in an initial test.

The woman, in her 40s, may have been infected while visiting her mother at the emergency room of Samsung Medical Center in Seoul late last month, the ministry said.

As of Tuesday morning, 2,892 people, including family members of those diagnosed, were in isolation for possible infection from coming into close contact with a MERS patient, according to the ministry.

The health ministry said it will fully fund the cost of diagnosis and treatment for those who have contracted the disease, as well as those in quarantine as suspected cases.

The ministry again warned against groundless fears, noting nearly two-thirds of those diagnosed with the disease had existing health conditions while all of those who have died from the disease had existing illnesses or other health problems.

Out of the 95 people diagnosed so far, nine are in unstable condition, the health ministry said.

Two people diagnosed with the disease have been released after making complete recoveries.

The number will soon reach three as another patient was set to be discharged from the hospital later in the day, the ministry said.

So far, all infections have occurred at hospitals where at least one MERS patient had visited or stayed for treatment -- the reason the government believes the disease can still be contained.

To help prevent the disease from spreading further, the government has released the names of all hospitals affected by the disease, which stood at 29 as of late Monday. (Yonhap)

Korea Herald daum