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Managing contacts in the MERS-CoV outbreak in the republic of Korea

In June 2015, WHO and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Public Health and Welfare presented the results of their joint assessment of the MERS outbreak. The assessment led to a series of recommendations, which incorporated specific actions to halt the spread of the virus, including early and complete identification and investigation of all contacts; and robust quarantine/isolation and monitoring of all contacts and suspected cases.

To date, a total of 182 MERS-CoV cases, including 33 deaths, have been reported. One of the 182 cases is the case that was confirmed in China. In order to quickly identify and isolate any new cases, contacts for identified cases are monitored for a 14-day period (the incubation period of the virus). Currently, about 2 400 people are being monitored. The vast majority of these are monitored in their homes, while about 700, who were in close contact with a confirmed case, are monitored in a health care facility.