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(LEAD) Additional S. Korean dies from MERS

2015/06/05 06:26

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- An additional South Korean has died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the health ministry said Friday, bringing the total number of deaths from the viral disease to four.

The ministry also reported five new cases, raising the total to 41.

The new fatality came on Thursday as a 76-year-old patient, who was confirmed on May 21 to have contracted the virus, died.

The five new patients include a 45-year-old Air Force chief master sergeant, which represented the first MERS case among members of the military. He was hospitalized in the same hospital as South Korea's first MERS patient last month, but the case could also be a tertiary infection at the hospital.

The four other cases are also believed to be tertiary infection cases.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a viral respiratory illness that is new to humans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to several other countries.

Most people infected with MERS develop severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the CDC says. Many of them have died.

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