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Death toll from MERS reaches 37 in South Korea

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Yonhap News
Written by Yonhap News

A 66-year-old South Korean patient of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) died Sunday, officials said, raising the nation’s death toll from the outbreak to 37.

The 152nd patient, who died at 1:52 a.m., was dealing with the aftereffects of MERS after testing negative earlier. It marked the first death of a MERS patient since July 10.

It also marked the first case of death caused in the aftermath of MERS after a patient tested negative for the disease.

Officials said the patient got a lung transplant to help after suffering from MERS but failed to recover fully.

Since the country reported its first MERS case on May 20, the disease has infected 186 people, killing 37 of them.

Following the latest death, the fatality rate of the disease went up to 19.9 percent in South Korea from the previous 19.4 percent.

MERS is a viral disease that is still fairly new to humans. No vaccine or treatment is currently available for the disease, a reason for the high fatality rate of around 36 percent globally.

There currently is only one MERS patient in South Korea. The 35-year-old tested negative for the virus on Sept. 30 and again on Oct. 1 but tested positive recently.

Quarantine officials check visitors' body temperatures at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul in this file photo taken on Oct. 13, 2015. (Yonhap file photo)Quarantine officials check visitors’ body temperatures at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul in this file photo taken on Oct. 13, 2015. (Yonhap file photo)

colin@yna.co.kr

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