Seoul, Jun 13: South Korea today reported the 14th death from an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), with 12 new cases including that of an ambulance driver who moved a patient infected with the deadly virus.
The latest fatality was a 68-year-old woman who contracted the virus at a hospital in Pyeongtaek City, 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of Seoul, the Health Ministry said. It said all the 14 deceased had pre-existing health conditions, with the most recent fatality suffering from hypertension and hypothyroidism.
Twelve new infected patients brought to 138 the total number of confirmed cases, in the largest outbreak of the virus outside Saudi Arabia. The new cases included an ambulance driver who fell ill after transporting a 75-year-old infected woman to Samsung Medical Centre in southern Seoul on June 7, where she died three days later.
Out of 133 people whose contacts have been traced, the largest single group of 60 people have contracted the disease at Samsung Medical Centre, one of the largest hospitals in Seoul. Five other cases are being investigated to find out how and where the patients were infected.
The first infected patient in South Korea was diagnosed on May 20 after a trip to Saudi Arabia. The 68-year-old man visited four medical facilities, infecting other patients and medics, before he was finally diagnosed.