SOUTH KOREA ANNOUNCES FIRST DEATHS FROM MERS VIRUS

South Korea confirmed today that 2 people have died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The 2 are the first South Korean fatalities from the disease.

The deceased are a 58 year-old woman and a 71 year-old man, both of whom have been confirmed to be carriers of the virus.

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6 more people were diagnosed with MERS on Monday. The total number of people infected is now 25 in South Korea, including the 2 deceased.

The first case of MERS was previously reported on 20th May. South Korea's health ministry says a total of 682 people have been exposed to the virus and have been quarantined.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a deadlier but less infectious cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed hundreds of people when it appeared in Asia in 2003. There is no cure or vaccine.

Over 20 countries have been struck by the virus, with most cases in Saudi Arabia. There have been 400 deaths since 2012 in Saudi Arabia alone.

The spread of the MERS virus has been traced back to a 68-year-old man who returned to South Korea from a trip to Saudi Arabia.

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