July 13, 2015 12:45
No new infections of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have been reported since July 4, health officials said Sunday. Two more people have been completely cured and released from hospital. So far, MERS has claimed 36 lives, while 20 people are still being treated in isolation wards.
As the number of new infections dropped substantially this month, health officials are weighing the possibility of declaring an end to the outbreak.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked the World Health Organization about the timing. "We have yet to receive a response from the WHO and are discussing the matter with experts," a KCDC spokesman said.
An outbreak of infectious diseases is usually declared officially over when no additional patients are reported for twice the duration of the incubation period. But the problem is whether to set the start of the incubation period as the discovery of the last infection or when the last infected patient was released from hospital.
Kim Woo-joo at the Korean Society of Infectious Disease said, "If no additional infections are reported for 28 days, which is twice the incubation period of the virus since the last detection on July 4, an official end to the outbreak could be declared around Aug. 2."
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