Health authorities warn of possible MERS inflow

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Feb 28, 2017 - 11:59
  • Updated : Feb 28, 2017 - 11:59

South Korean health authorities warned Tuesday there is still the possibility that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome can be brought into the country from overseas.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 10 infectious diseases that people should carefully monitor and watch out for in the first half of this year.

The KCDC said a number of people are still being infected with MERS in Saudi Arabia, which has been the country worst hit by the virus. There have been some 650,000 known cases of infection there.


A total of 252 people were newly infected with the potentially deadly disease in five Middle Eastern countries -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait -- and 85 of them died last year, the KCDC said. In Saudi Arabia alone, 37 people were infected this year with 12 of them dying.

Health authorities said they are still closely monitoring people returning from the Middle Eastern countries in the past 14 days who show symptoms of fever and respiratory disease.

Also, the KCDC said that people should closely monitor avian influenza at least by April as the country has already been struggling with the disease for nearly three months.

The H7N9 bird flu strain is currently contagious in China, with the number of people infected with the disease totaling 429 since last October, the authorities said.

The KCDC pointed out the possibility of the strain being brought into the country through travelers or birds by April. South Korea has not yet reported human infection cases of bird flu.

Among the 10 diseases are the Zika virus that's been breaking out in Latin America over the last two years and cholera that broke out in South Korea last year for the first time in 15 years.

Also, the health authorities warned of viruses such as lassa fever and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever that can affect people returning from African countries.

The hepatitis A virus and foot-and-mouth disease are highly contagious during spring season, the authorities said.

Earlier this month, the government announced that three FMD cases were confirmed at cow farms in central South Korea. The disease does not affect humans. (Yonhap)