Most days over the last three weeks, South Koreans have woken up to troubling news about the spread of MERS. More infections, more school closures, more people quarantined. Authorities even isolated the entire village of Jangdeok, 150 miles south of Seoul, in a county known more for spicy red pepper paste than the infectious foreign agent authorities call Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

MERS was first detected in South Korea last month after a 68-year-old man returned with the virus from a trip to the Middle East. He went through four hospitals over nine days before being confirmed on May 20 as having the infection.…  Seguir leyendo »

On May 9, the World Health Organization stopped short of calling Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, a global health emergency. That's a good thing.

In the 2 1/2 years since it was first identified, MERS has had a case fatality rate of about 30%, which sounds alarming. But during that period, there have been only 594 confirmed cases. Moreover, extensive surveillance in Saudi Arabia has shown that many people infected with the virus never showed symptoms, which means the fatality rate is actually far lower.

Still, case numbers have shot up in recent weeks. And the first two infections in the United States were recently reported, both of them in healthcare workers who flew in from Saudi Arabia.…  Seguir leyendo »