MERS in Korea - Update 8 July

by K4E Admin (with information from Embassies, Seoul City, CDC and WHO), 08/06/2015

MERS HOTLINES (Updated 8 July):
English/Korean 109  -  Other languages: 1345
(three-way interpreting service on MERS) (English, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mongolian, Indonesian, French, Bengali, Urdu, Russian, Nepali, Khmer, Myanmar, German, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic and Sinhalese). See more updated information below.

A number of public events are being cancelled in Korea due to concerns regarding MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). While MERS is a serious respiratory disease and while there have been diagnosed cases in South Korea, there have be some incorrect media reports about the MERS risk. Anyone with concerns can get reliable information from a number of sources including the CDC MERS website (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO site (World Health Organization) that provides updates in English on the MERS situation in Korea. CDC Korea has established a MERS hotline: 043-719-7777 (Korean only).

Although WHO (World Health Organization) has not advised special MERS screening or issued any travel or trade restrictions, travellers can expect increased passenger screening measures at many international airports (Incheon included) particularly for flights from Middle Eastern countries.

The main symptoms of MERS are, after an average incubation period of 5 days (2 to 14 days), fever (more than 37.5℃), coughing, sneezing, phlegm, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, and other respiratory symptoms. Symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia and can also include difficulty in digestion (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea). To date, patients in Korea acquired their illness in hospital settings where they came in direct or indirect contact with MERS patients. Contacts with MERS patients will require monitoring or isolation for up to 14 days, usually in your own home.

The following measures are recommended to protect yourself from illness:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and throw the used tissue in the trash. Do not reuse tissues.
- Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, handrails, or toys.
- Avoid close contact, such as kissing or sharing eating utensils, with sick individuals.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.‎
- Avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals.

Individuals treated at the following locations since 15 May should call their health care provider for further guidance. At this time, MERS has not been shown to be transmitted through airborne routes or in the community - only through hospital level direct and indirect contact.

1.  Samsung Seoul Medical Center (ER)
2.  365 Seoul Yeolin Hospital (Outpatient Clinic)
3.  Pyeongtaek St. Mary's Hospital
4.  ChoongNam Asan City Asan Seoul Hospital (Outpatient Clinic)
5.  Daejeon Seogu DaeCheong Hospital
6.  Seogu GeonYang University Hospital (ER, 10th Floor)
7.  Seoul Asan Hospital
8.  Seoul Asan Medical Center (ER)
9.  Yoido St. Mary's Hospital (ER)
10. Hanaro Clinic
11. Yoon Chang Ok internal Medicine Clinic
12. Pyeongtaek Good Morning Hospital
13. Pyeongtaek Pooren Hospital
14. Pyeongtaek 365 Yonhap Clinic
15. Pyeongtaek Park Ae Clinic
16. Pyeongtaek Yonsei Hub Family Medicine
17. Dongtan Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital
18. St. Vincent Hospital (ER)
19. Medihalls Clinic (Outpatient Clinic)
20. Bucheon St. Mary's Hospita21 Gunpo City St. Mary's Family Medicine Clinic
22. Osan Hanguk Hospital
23. CheonAn Danguk University Hospital
24. Daecheon 365 Yonhap Clinic (Outpatient Clinic)
25. Soonchang Choi Seonyeong Internal Medicine Clinic (Outpatient Clinic)

On 14 June, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) announced the following  public transportation lines were used by an individual subsequently confirmed as MERS- infected: 

  1. Gwangmyung – Busan KTX Train #123, Car #12 (June 2, 9:46 AM-12:12 PM);
  2. Bus from Gwangju Gwangcheon Bus Terminal – Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Honam (June 2, 7:45 AM-11:15 AM);
  3. Bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Honam – Gwangju Gwangcheon Bus Terminal (June 2, 3:25 PM~6:25 PM); and
  4. Seoul-Pyungtaek Nuriro Train #1727, Car #3 (June 4, 9:20 AM-10:15AM).  MOHW requests persons who were on these buses or train cars call the MERS hotline at 109 (English language service available).  

NOTE: There is no evidence  to date that community-level transmission (i.e., outside of a health care setting) of MERS has occurred.

MOHW has announced the establishment of the National Safe Hospital Program with specialized procedures to effectively control MERS infections within hospitals by providing care for patients with respiratory diseases in secured areas.  The National Safe Hospital List is available here

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Korea) has confirmed a total of 184 people diagnosed for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as of Friday, July 3, 2015. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, all patients were infected while visiting hospitals affected by MERS. Over 2,067 people are still in isolation as of Friday, July 3, for possible infection after coming in close contact with a MERS patient or visiting one of the hospitals affected by the viral respiratory illness. South Korea has reported 33 MERS-related deaths since the outbreak was confirmed on May 20. Local authorities are closely monitoring the situation and have instituted appropriate measures including limited quarantines.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has not advised special screening with regard to these events nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions.

The Korean government has released the names of hospitals affected by MERS. There were 99 such hospitals as of 11:00, Thursday July 2. 
*Hospitals where MERS cases occurred (16 hospitals)      
Seoul (7):  Samsung Medical Center (88 confirmed patients),  Gangdong Kyunghee Univ. Hospital ER (5 patients), Kunkuk University Hospital(4 patient),  Song-Taeeui Internal Medicine Clinic(1 patients),
365 Seoul Open Clinic (1 patient), Asan Medical Center ER (1 patient), Yoido St Mary’s Hospital ER(1 patient)
Pyongtaek (2): Pyongtaek St. Mary Hospital (37 patients), Pyongtaek Good-morning Hospital (4 patient)
Hwaseong(1): Hanrim Univ. Dongtan St. Mary’s Hospital (6 patients)
Yongin (1): Yangji Seoul Samsung Clinic (1 patient)
Asan (2): Asan Seoul Hospital (1 patient), Asan Chungmu Hospital(1 patient)
Daejeon (2): Daecheong Hospital (14 patients), Geonyang Univ. Hospital ER (11 patients)
Busan (1): Good (Joeun) Gangan Hospital (1 patient)

*Hospitals where MERS patient passed through (83 hospitals)
Seoul(30): Hanaro Clinic, Yoon-chang-ok Clinic, St. Mary’s Family Medicine clinic, BSB’s NAMU Hospital, Seoul Bokji Hospital, Hwang External Clinic, KimJeongHo ENT Clinic, Medihill Hospital, Baeksin Clinic,Mizmedi Hospital(ER), Duri ENT Clinic, Jungang External Clinic, Yonsei Neuro Clinic, Hyangginanun Internal Medicine Clinic, Siwonhan ENT Clinic, Somang ENT Clinic, Sejong Internal Med. Clinic Yonsei Woori Internal Medicine, Coco ENT Clinic, Park Internal Medicine Clinic, Dami Neuropsychiatry Clinic, Eunhye ENT Clinic, Mokchasu Internal Clinic, Ilseondang Oriental Clinic,               Bon ENT Clinic, Gangdong Neurosurgery Clinic, Gangdong Sungshim Hospital, Sungmo Ja-ae Bok-ji-gwan (Our Lade of Mercy Rehab. Center), Suseo Jeil Clinic, Sarang Plus Clinic
Busan (4):          ImHongSeop Internal Clinic, Busan Centum Hospital, Jahye Internal Medicine Clinic, BHS Hanseo Hospital,

Gyeonggi Province (25)
Anseong (2): Hyeondai Orthopaedic Hospital, Anseong Hospital
Bucheon(1): Medihols Clinic (Goean-dong)
Gimpo(2): Gimpo Su Urology Clinic, Yonsei Internal Medicine Clinic,
Guri (2): Sok-pyeonhan Internal Clinic, Kaiser Rehab. Hospital
Hwaseong (2):  Sok-pyeonhan Internal Clinic, Hyangnam Yonsei Ped.& Youth Clinic
Osan(1): Osan Hanguk Hospital
Pyongtaek(7):  365 Yonhap Clinic, Bakae Clinic, LeeDongHoon internal Medicine Clinic, Yonsei Herb Family Medicine Clinic, Sae Seoul Clinic, Pyongtaek Purun Clinic, Saeuri Clinic,
Seongnam (2): Seoul Rehabilitation Medical Clinic, Seongnam Jungang Hospital
Suwon(3): Catholic  St. Vincent Hospital,  Cha Min Internal Clinic, Park Ped.&Youth Clinic
Yongin (3):        Suji 21 Century Clinic, Suji Mirae OBS Clinic, Yongin Severance Hospital ER.

Chungcheong Province (9)
Boryeong (1): Samyuk O-yonhap Clinic
Cheonan(1): Danguk Univ. Hospital,
Daejeon (3): Eulji Univ. Hospital, Hansarang Clinic (Seo-gu), Hansarang Clinic(Jung-gu)
Gongju(1): Gongju Hyundai Hospital ER
Okcheon(3): Okcheon St. May’s Hospital ER, Gombawoo Oriental Medical Clinic, Okcheon Jeil Clinic

Jeolla Province (5)
Gimje (3): Gimje Wooseok Hospital, Hansol Internal Clinic, Gimje Mirae Radiology Medical Clinic
Jeonju (1): Jeonju Yesu Hospital
Sunchang(1): Choi-Seonyoung Clinic (Jeollanamdo)

Gangwon Province (4)
Chuncheon (1): Hyundai Clinic
Gangreung (1): Gangreung Medical Center
Sokcho (1):        Jinyoung Clinic                 
Wonju(1):          Yonsei Univ. Wonju Severance Hospital ER

Gyeongsang province (6)
Changwon (3): Changwon Himchan Hospital, Gajok Bojeon Clinic, Changwon SK hospital
Gyeongju(3):  Lee-Woonwoo Internal Medicine clinic, Seoul Internal Medicine Clinic, Gyeongju Lee Dermatology Clinic
Most embassies are reporting that they believe that the MERS outbreak is now mostly controlled by the Korean authorities and advise residents to be aware that some media reports may be incorrect. To get up-to-date information, contact one of the Hotlines noted above or contact Seoul Dasan 120 line.

Event Cancellations are occuring and K4E will post a notice on What's Going On listings when we receive information that the event has been cancelled,not all organisers will be letting us know. So you may want to contact the event organisers or KTO's 02-1330 helpline to make sure it's still taking place.

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