South Korea MERS Crisis Witnesses Another Death but WHO Issues Positive Statements
Ri Kuk-Chol and Noriko Watanabe
Modern Tokyo Times
Another individual just perished in South Korea from MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) bringing the total to 14 deaths. This sad reality, and with cases numbering at least 140, is highlighting the severity of the crisis in South Korea. Despite this, the WHO (World Health Organization) believes that the MERS virus is containable because it doesn’t appear to be spreading to the wider community in South Korea.
The WHO rightly stressed that the MERS crisis in South Korea is “large and complex.” However, the WHO made it clear that currently it had “found no evidence” that MERS was spreading throughout South Korea.
Of course, it must be stated that the WHO also issued statements about the Ebola crisis in parts of Africa that appeared optimistic. In this sense, the next few weeks will provide more evidence if the WHO is correct in being optimistic about containing MERS in South Korea.
The BBC reports “But while it was premature to declare the outbreak over, the WHO said it had “found no evidence” of the Mers virus spreading wider in the community…About 140 people have been infected since the start of the outbreak last month. Fourteen are known to have died.”
Other issues arising from the MERS crisis relate to the economy of South Korea facing a downward trend and obviously the internal mechanism of the health care system is under enormous strain. If, like the WHO suggests, the MERS crisis is containable then the economic situation will just be a blip. Therefore, future efforts must focus on the internal mechanisms of the health care system and to focus on preventing dangerous symptoms from entering South Korea in the first place.
Sadly, the fear factor of MERS is indeed great because of the high toll of people that die once being diagnosed. Indeed, around 36% of individuals reported to have MERS will perish. On top of this, currently you have no vaccine to fight against MERS therefore the fear factor is a real problem despite the number of deaths in South Korea currently standing at 14.
Keiji Fukuda, WHO, stated: “Because the outbreak has been large and is complex, more cases should be anticipated.” Fukuda continued: “At present the mission has found no evidence that there is ongoing transmission within the community.”
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times says: “Yet, with each new death and person being diagnosed then the fear factor will remain vivid. It is hoped that all positive recommendations by specialists will be implemented in South Korea in order to contain the crisis. If not, then sadly the death rate will increase and other negative side effects like hindering the economy will continue.”
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Please note that in nations like Japan that it is common to see people in face masks for various reasons, from hay fever, preventing colds and so forth. Therefore, the image from South Korea isn’t meant to be misleading and based on scaremongering.