Korean Medical Facilities With MERS Exposures
One of the contributing factors to Korea’s MERS outbreak has been the habit for many patients to visit multiple clinics or hospitals before settling on a doctor/hospital/or diagnosis. A practice the World Health Organization called `doctor shopping’ in their WHO statement on the Ninth Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding MERS-CoV.
Many of the MERS cases that have been identified and isolated picked up the virus while visiting crowded ERs, and as often as not, then went on to visit other medical facilities while potentially infectious.
As a result, while the number of hospitals with actual MERS patients remains under 20, the number of facilities where people may have been exposed has risen to more than 80.
The Korean government English language MERS website where these lists were maintained returns an error now, but Hong Kong’s CHP has posted the following update which notes 6 relatively recent additions.
25 June 2015
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (June 25) closely monitoring one additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and six additional MERS-affected health-care facilities newly reported by Korea.
According to the latest appeal of the health authority of Korea, people who had visited the following health-care facilities during the specified periods and became ill should report to them for follow-up:
- 14/F, Paediatrics Unit of Hallym University Gangdong Sacred Heart Hospital at Gil-dong between June 5 and 9;
- Jongro Guangmyung Pharmacy, Mokchasoo Internal Medicine Clinic at Sangil-dong between June 10 and 12;
- Ilsundang Korean Traditional Medical Clinic at Sangil-dong on June 12;
- Smile Pharmacy, Bon Otorhinolaryngology Clinic at Godeok-dong on June 15;
- Tuntun Pharmacy, Gangdong Neurosurgery Clinic at Myeongil-dong on June 16;
- Withpharm Angel Pharmacy at Gil-dong on June 17; and
- Hallym University Gangdong Sacred Heart Hospital at Gil-dong between the afternoon of June 17 and June 22.
(According to the Korean authority, an English translation may not be the official English name. Please refer to the following webpage for the Korean names: www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/korean_hospital_list.pdf.)
"In consideration of the latest information from Korea, we appeal to members of the public who had visited the above health-care facilities during the specified periods to contact the CHP through our hotline (2125 1111) for further assessment," a spokesman for the CHP said.
Furthermore, according to the preliminary information of the health authority of Korea, the additional case is a patient who had contact with a confirmed case in a hospital in Busan.
To date, 179 MERS cases have been confirmed by Korea. In addition, another case was exported from Korea to Mainland China.
"We again urge the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks of the places of visit," a spokesman for the CHP said.
"In view of the latest situation in Korea, the public should avoid unnecessary travel to Korea, in particular those with chronic illnesses. Travellers in Korea and the Middle East should avoid unnecessary visits to health-care facilities. In addition, travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, and avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry," the spokesman advised.
The CHP will maintain close communication with the World Health Organization and the health authority of Korea. Members of the public and the health-care sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation.
Ends/Thursday, June 25, 2015