What has been remarkable so far is the rapid availability of information and data on the MERS-CoV outbreak in South Korea. Anyone with the slightest inclination can – in the comfort of home or office – generate epidemic curves or other informative graphics (and indeed many have done so – my Twitter account is full of such updates on a daily basis) and otherwise follow this epidemic more closely than any other previous outbreak in the past. There’s a nice quote from Dr. Trevor Bedford (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) in the New York Times article on Ebola written by Sheri Fink two days ago: “You could imagine a situation where you don’t really have to publish your Nature paper; instead, you make a blog post. It could have been a bit more timely”. Unfortunately, this sentiment is still too ahead of its time…

Anyway, there are 3 new cases in South Korea (a total of 169) and 25 deaths (case fatality rate of 14.8%). We should now be at the tail end of the South Korean MERS epidemic, barring any mishaps. There are no new MERS cases reported from Thailand, but apparently up to 175 persons have been exposed to the index case from Oman.

MERS-CoV cases in South Korea according to date of confirmation and hospitals involved.
MERS-CoV cases in South Korea according to date of confirmation and hospitals involved.

For those who are interested, WHO has put up a spreadsheet of the South Korean cases (up to case 165) here. KBS News has put up a remarkable interactive graphic showing the updated transmission “web” of cases – unfortunately it is only in Korean. I have done a screen capture (below) but it does not do the actual graphic justice. The ECDC update on 18th June 2015 – always informative – used an adapted version of the graphic.

Transmission chain of MERS-CoV cases in South Korea - screen capture from KBS News on 21 June 2015.
Transmission chain of MERS-CoV cases in South Korea – screen capture from KBS News on 21 June 2015.

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