Cases of the MERS corona virus increase to 12 in South Korea

The number of cases in the mini outbreak of the MERS coronavirus in South Korea has grown to 12 cases. The initial case occurred in a traveller who returned to South Korea after acquiring the infection in the the Middle East. The virus was transmitted to a few close household family contacts and health workers who provided care before the virus was identified and protective measures were put in place. One person travelled to China against medical advice and has been hospitalized there.

So far, all the identified contacts on transportation (airplanes and buses) shared with an infected person have not become ill. As in previous clusters of this infection, no sustained human-to-human spread has been noted so far.

Advice For Travellers

The reports of cases of MERS coronavirus in South Korea is receiving considerable media attention. However, the risk for travellers to South Korea is extremely low. There are no travel restrictions for South Korea. The MERS coronavirus continues to have very limited human-to-human spread. Nevertheless, maintaining a small distance (1 meter) from a person with a respiratory illness and frequent hand washing will help reduce the risk of infection with any respiratory virus.