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S. Korea reports first MERS death in 8 days

South Korea on Wednesday reported its first death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in eight days, raising the death toll from the viral disease to 34.

The number of people diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease here remained at 186 as the country saw no additional infection cases over the past three days, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Out of the 186 diagnosed, only 33 remain hospitalized while 119 have been discharged following complete recoveries.

In addition to those diagnosed, 811 people are currently in isolation as suspected cases. The number rose from 674 on the previous day.

Since the country reported its first case on May 20, over 16,500 people have been subject to isolation for possible infection. So far, 15,761 of them have been released after they showed no symptoms of MERS for more than the known maximum period of 14 days for the disease.

MERS is a viral respiratory syndrome first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

No vaccine or treatment is currently available for the disease that had carried a fatality rate of over 40 percent until the outbreak here.

In South Korea, the fatality rate of the disease is at 18.3 percent while the health ministry says about 90 percent of the deceased had existing health conditions, including diabetes and cancer, which were apparently worsened by MERS. (Yonhap)