Efforts underway to battle MERS in South Korea

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Peter Ben Embarek. UNTV video capture

A number of hospitals in South Korea have intensified their efforts to control the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO says the disease which was reportedly introduced by a man who got infected during a business trip to Saudi Arabia, has killed seven people.

Dr Peter Ben Embarek, a Scientist at WHO told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that all the cases of the disease are still linked to the same chain of transmission.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The WHO health expert said that more cases are expected in the coming days until everybody who has been infected has not had the opportunity to transmit MERS to other people.

Dr Peter Ben Embarek told reporters that close to 3,000 people who may have contacted others with MERS are being traced and followed closely.

He said most of them are in self isolation at home while others are in hospitals.

"We have now a total of 97 cases. Eight more were reported today from Korea, including an additional death. So we have now in total seven deaths. We have a fairly large number of hospitals being involved in this event. I believe close to 30 hospitals are part of the event somehow."

Dr Embarek said the large number of hospitals involved can be explained by the fact that people in South Korea tend to visit several hospitals for a second opinion.

He said many people had been to several hospitals and clinics before being identified as MERS cases and isolated.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations

Duration: 1'04"

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