South Korea reports two MERS deaths

Seoul, June 2 (IANS) South Korean authorities on Tuesday confirmed death of two people from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the country’s first fatalities from the virus.

The health ministry also reported six new cases of the viral disease, bringing the total to 25, Yonhap News Agency reported.

A 58-year-old woman, who had been treated as a suspected case of MERS, died on Monday due of acute respiratory failure. Tests later came back positive for the virus.

The second victim was a 71-year-old man who was tested positive several days ago. He died on Tuesday, the health ministry said.

The new cases included the country’s first tertiary infections as two people were found to have contracted the virus from a secondarily infected patient.

MERS is considered a deadly but less transmissible cousin of the Severe Actue Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, which erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected thousands of people.

Over 20 countries have been affected by the virus, which has no known cure or vaccine, with most cases in Saudi Arabia where it has killed more than 400 people since 2012.

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