Epidemiological update: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Epidemiological update

​Since the last update by ECDC in its risk assessment of 11 June 2015, 18 new cases and one death in a previously reported case have been reported by South Korean authorities.

As of 12 June, South Korea has reported 125 cases of MERS-CoV, including 10 deaths. China has reported one non-fatal case.

Since the last update by ECDC in its risk assessment of 11 June 2015, 18 new cases and one death in a previously reported case have been reported by South Korean authorities.

On 20 May 2015, the South Korean Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported a case of MERS-CoV in a 68-year-old man, with recent travel history to Middle East. According to WHO, the man had travelled to Bahrain (18–29 April), the United Arab Emirates (29–30 April), Bahrain (30 April–1 May), Saudi Arabia (1–2 May), Bahrain (2 May) and Qatar (2–3 May). The case arrived at Korea’s Incheon International airport via Qatar on 4 May and was asymptomatic on arrival. On 11 May, he developed cough and fever and sought medical care at an outpatient clinic between 12 and 15 May. He was hospitalised on 15 May, discharged on 17 May and readmitted the same evening in another hospital after presenting to the emergency department. On 20 May, he tested positive for MERS-CoV and was transferred to the nationally designated treatment facility for isolation. The patient has no history of exposure to known risk factors in the 14 days prior to detection. Investigation of the source of infection is ongoing.

The case in China is the son of a patient admitted in South Korea who travelled to Hong Kong, Guangdong province, China, on 26 May 2015. He was admitted and isolated in a hospital in Hong Kong on 27 May 2015 and confirmed positive for MERS-CoV infection on 29 May.

The onset dates of the 126 cases reported in East-Asia range from 11 May for the index case to 8 June for the most recent cases, according to the Korean Centres for Disease Prevention and Control. Seventy-four cases are males and 52 females. The age of cases ranges from 16 to 84 years with a median age of 56 years.

Distribution of confirmed cases of MERS-CoV by gender, 11 May – 12 June 2015, South Korea and China (n=126)

 

Among the 10 reported deaths, six are documented to have had underlying conditions. The average age of the 10 cases who died is 73 years (range from 57 years to 82 years).

Among all the cases, three patients are reported to be the origin of transmission for 71 other patients. The index case has resulted in 30 secondary cases and two of these secondary cases have resulted in 14 and 17 tertiary cases respectively.

All cases reported in Asia are linked to healthcare facilities and were either a patient, a visitor, a healthcare worker or other healthcare staff member. No community acquired MERS-CoV infection has been reported. According to the Korean Centres for Disease Prevention and Control, 10 medical facilities reported confirmed cases in South Korea. Among the 126 cases, 14 are healthcare workers or staff of affected health care facilities.

Distribution of confirmed cases of MERS-CoV by day and hospital of admission, 11 May – 12 June 2015, South Korea (n=125)*

 

*Date of reporting is used when onset date is unknown