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Another doctor at Samsung's hospital contracts MERS: gov't

Another doctor at Samsung Group's hospital is confirmed to have contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the government said Saturday, putting the total number of those diagnosed with the disease at 185. 

A doctor from Samsung Medical Center, whose identity is being withheld, has been added to the patients list and is under examination, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said. 

No fatalities have been reported over the past four days. The country's death toll from the viral disease stands at 33. 

The hospital owned by the country's top conglomerate has been blamed for nearly half of all infections here since MERS first broke out on May 20. The medical center is currently shut down indefinitely. 

The latest contraction follows a diagnosis of a nurse at the same hospital confirmed a day earlier, stoking concerns that the disease at the facility appears far from containment. A total of 13 medical staff members from the hospital have caught the virus. 

Out of the 185 people diagnosed with MERS, 41 remain hospitalized while 11 of them are in critical condition, according to ministry officials. 

So far, 111 have been discharged following complete recoveries. 

The number of those who remain in isolation sharply dropped overnight to 1,434 as of early Saturday from 2,067. They have been separated for possible infection after coming in close contact with MERS patients. 

Over 16,000 people have been subject to isolation as suspected cases so far while some 14,700 of them have been released after they showed no symptoms of MERS for the known maximum incubation period of 14 days for the disease.

MERS is a viral respiratory disease first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The fatality rate of the disease had been tallied at over 40 percent until the outbreak here as there is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.

In South Korea, the fatality rate of the disease remains at around 18 percent. (Yonhap)

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