Via Yonhap News: S. Korea reports no additional cases of MERS for fourth straight day. The full report and then a comment:
No additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been found in South Korea over the past four days, the health ministry said Wednesday, indicating the outbreak may be nearing its end.
The number of people diagnosed with the disease here has remained unchanged since Saturday at 182, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Also, no additional MERS-related deaths were filed over night, with the death toll standing at 33, unchanged from the previous day.
In addition to the country seeing no additional fatalities and infection cases, two more people previously diagnosed with MERS have been discharged following complete recoveries, the ministry said.
Out of the 182 diagnosed with the disease, 97 have fully recovered while 52 still remain hospitalized.
South Korea confirmed its first outbreak of the viral respiratory disease on May 20.
Ministry officials said no additional cases over the past four days may indicate that the spread of the disease is now on the wane.
However, they noted the country was still far away from being able to declare an end to the outbreak as the country still has over 2,000 suspected cases.
As of Wednesday, 2,451 people were in isolation, mostly at their own homes, for possible infection after coming in close contact with MERS patients. The number dropped from 2,638 on the previous day.
There currently is no vaccine or treatment for the disease that is still fairly new to humans. The disease carried a high fatality rate of over 40 percent until the outbreak here.
In South Korea, the fatality rate of the disease remains at 18.1 percent.
When this outbreak is indeed over, the South Koreans may want to have a quiet word with the Saudis and Gulf Arabs. MERS has been a distressing, embarrassing, and very expensive episode for South Korea, entirely the result of a disease the Arabs have largely ignored when they might have studied it, learned how to suppress it, and thereby spared their trade partners (and their own people) a lot of grief.
No doubt South Korea and other Asian nations rely on Saudi oil to some extent, but at some point even cheap oil becomes too expensive. Quiet words from South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, and the Philippines might just achieve what medical advice has so far failed to do: Get the Saudis and Gulf Arabs to take responsibility for a disease that should have been stamped out long before now.