One Photo Shows How Scary the MERS Outbreak is in South Korea

Time Magazine released the following photo to symbolize how much Mers is a crisis in South Korea. It was taken on Saturday at a wedding.

Mers Wedding

MERS has killed nine people and left more than 2,800 quarantined in South Korea. There is no known cure for MERS.

Virologists are piecing together an understanding of a new but familiar respiratory illness.

MERS has only been observed in humans since 2012, and the recent cases in South Korea represent the largest outbreak of the virus ever outside of Saudi Arabia, where it originated in camels before jumping to humans. “For dromedary camels, [MERS is] very much like what we get in a common cold,” Munster said. “But if it comes into humans, it moves into the lower respiratory tract where it can cause some harm. If you are relatively healthy, you probably don’t get too sick from this virus. But if you have co-morbidities—let’s say a heart condition, diabetes, or obesity, maybe all three—the outcome for you if you get this virus is increasingly worse.”

And, as The New York Times reported, the physically crowded hospital system in South Korea exacerbates the spread of viral illnesses. The way people go about getting admitted to the best hospitals in South Korea is part of the problem, the newspaper reported: Patients flock to big medical centers and wait in emergency rooms until they can be seen, potentially spreading germs in the process. Before the current outbreak, MERS cases worldwide had already started spiking up since last year. “The reason for this increase in cases is not yet completely known,” the CDC wrote in a statement on its website. “What CDC does know is that because we live in an interconnected world, diseases, like MERS, can make their way to the United States, even when they begin a half a world away.”

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DeeDee Barker

Writer at The Pluto Daily
Writer/Design/Editor. Born in New Orleans but raised in Philly. DeeDee has been with the Pluto Daily since June 2014.