Although there have been no new MERS cases reported in South Korea over the past 6 weeks, the official 28 day countdown clock to declare the end of their outbreak doesn’t begin until the last patient under treatment either dies or clears the virus.
Normally, patients clear the virus in a matter of a couple of weeks, but patient #80, a 35-year old afflicted with malignant lymphoma, continues to test positive more than 11 weeks after he became infected.
While outliers, prolonged carriage and shedding of viruses (like MERS, Ebola, and Influenza) has been documented fairly often, particularly in immunocompromised patients.
English.news.cn | 2015-08-17 15:44:59 | Editor: huaxia
SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's health authorities are expected to delay the declaration of the official end of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) crisis as one patient, who had suffered from the immunity-weakening disease before infection, was tested positive.
As of Monday, the total MERS contagion number has been unchanged at 186 for 43 days since July 6, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The death toll has made no change at 36 for 37 days since July 12.
Despite the de-facto end of the viral disease spread, the official end had yet to be declared as the World Health Organization advised the country to announce the end officially, 28 days after the last patient is tested negative.
The South Korean government declared the de-facto end of the MERS crisis last month. Patient 80 was still tested positive for the MERS virus as the 35-year-old suffered from malignant lymphoma, which weakens the immunity system.
To eradicate the blood cell tumors, anti-cancer agents should be injected, but the cure cannot be applied to the patient as the injection deteriorates the immunity system further.