2015 MERS outbreak in Korea: hospital-to-hospital transmission

Epidemiol Health. 2015 Jul 21;37:e2015033. doi: 10.4178/epih/e2015033. eCollection 2015.


The distinct characteristic of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in South Korea is that it not only involves intra-hospital transmission, but it also involves hospital-to-hospital transmission. It has been the largest MERS outbreak outside the Middle East, with 186 confirmed cases and, among them, 36 fatal cases as of July 26, 2015. All confirmed cases are suspected to be hospital-acquired infections except one case of household transmission and two cases still undergoing examination. The Korean health care system has been the major factor shaping the unique characteristics of the outbreak. Taking this as an opportunity, the Korean government should carefully assess the fundamental problems of the vulnerability to hospital infection and make short- as well as long-term plans for countermeasures. In addition, it is hoped that this journal, Epidemiology and Health, becomes a place where various topics regarding MERS can be discussed and shared.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Hospital infection; Korea; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus; Outbreak; Statistics.