South Korea confirmed 23 more cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, the country’s health ministry said on Monday (Jun 8), bringing the total to 87 in the country of the often-deadly illness.

Seventeen of the new cases came from the same Seoul hospital emergency room where the country’s first patient remained before being confirmed MERS-positive, the ministry said.

Officials from the city of Daejeon also said an 80-year-old South Korean man who had tested positive for MERS has died, taking the number of deaths from the outbreak to six.

The man had been suffering from pneumonia when he was confirmed to have contracted the virus from another patient at a hospital, officials said.

First identified in humans in 2012, MERS is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. But MERS has a much higher death rate at 38 percent, according to World Health Organization figures.

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