Doctors spot deadly MERS virus again on former patient in S Korea

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A man has been re-diagnosed with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) just nine days after being discharged from hospital in South Korea, authorities said.

The 35-year-old man was re-admitted to the National University Hospital (SNUH) in the capital, Seoul, on Monday after he was confirmed positive with the MERS corona virus, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The patient first contracted the virus while suffering from lymphoma on June 7 and was the last patient to be diagnosed with the virus in South Korea.

It was reported that he had left hospital on October 1 after testing negative for MERS twice at the time.

“Two months prior to being discharged, the patient was detected to have a minuscule amount of the virus in his body, which has been inactive for some time and chances of infections were low,” Yang Byung-guk, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters.

More than 100 people, including doctors and family members who were in contact with the patient, have been quarantined, the Health and Welfare Ministry reported.

South Korea was hit by the largest outbreak of MERS outside the Middle East this year with 186 confirmed cases and more than 16,000 people quarantined.

The first MERS patient in South Korea was detected on May 20 at a hospital outside Seoul. But since July, no new cases were reported, which raised optimism that it could at last pronounce the end of MERS in the country.

However, the new case could dash hopes of such announcement.

MERS was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The disease is part of the corona virus family, which includes the common cold and SARS. It can cause such symptoms as fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

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