South Korea provides update on MERS-CoV

MERS update from South Korea
MERS update from South Korea | Courtesy of
Health professionals in South Korea have reported that there have not been any evolutionary rate changes in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) throughout the 2015 MERS outbreak.

Scientists used a sequence of full viral genomes from MERS strains taken from four infected patients. They demonstrated a minimum of four generations of the virus’s transmission without any evolutionary change.

The outbreak of MERS-CoV began in South Korea on May 20. The first case was a 68-year-old man who had visited the Middle East two weeks before showing is symptoms. This caused a transmission that spread through 185 people throughout the nation over the next four weeks. The majority of the transmissions happened inside the hospital.

MERS-CoV -- a new human pathogen -- was discovered in Saudi Arabia three years ago. It infects the lungs and results in severe respiratory illness. According to phylogenetic analysis and transmission studies, the zoonotic origin of the virus is camels. There has also been human-to-human transmission through close contact between patients.

The World Health Organization has confirmed 1,593 MERS-CoV cases. At least 568 people have died from the disease, mostly within the Arabian Peninsula.

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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