S Korea to publish MERS white paper

A South Korean staff monitors a thermal scanner as visitors walk past at an exhibition hall in Seoul on June 9, 2015.

The government will publish an elaborate report on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak here to help deal with future outbreaks of contagious diseases, officials said Wednesday.

The so-called MERS white paper will depict government measures to contain the spread of the viral respiratory syndrome and any problems or benefits resulting from each step, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Such a report will provide guidance in dealing with other infectious diseases in the future.

South Korea reported its first MERS case on May 20 after a 68-year-old man tested positive for the potentially deadly disease after returning from a prolonged trip to the Middle East.

Since then, the disease has infected 185 others, 36 of whom have died as of Wednesday.

The country is now nearing an apparent end to the outbreak with no additional cases reported for the past 38 days. The death toll has also remained unchanged at 36 for the past 32 days, according to the ministry.

Out of the 186 diagnosed so far, 10 still remain hospitalised but nine patients have already tested negative for the disease.

MERS is a viral disease that is fairly new to humans with no vaccine or treatment currently available for the disease.

Globally, the disease carries a very high fatality rate of around 36 per cent. In South Korea, the fatality rate currently stands at 19.4 per cent.