In a follow-up to a report yesterday, two additional Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cases have been confirmed in South Korea, according to health ministry officials (computer translated).

Maureen Metcalfe; Azaibi Tamin/CDC
Maureen Metcalfe; Azaibi Tamin/CDC

Following the initial case, the 68-year-old man who traveled to Bahrain, health authorities say his 63-year-old wife and a 76-year-old man who shared the hospital room with the initial case have tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The government held a meeting of infectious disease control experts yesterday to respond to the situation and discuss the future comprehensive measures.

The crisis alert level remains elevated and now 64 people who had close contact with the patients have been isolated including family members and hospital personnel.

The World Health Organization says infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS-CoV in health care facilities. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because like other respiratory infections, the early symptoms of MERS-CoV are non-specific. Therefore, health-care workers should always apply standard precautions consistently with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis.

Droplet precautions should be added to the standard precautions when providing care to patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection; contact precautions and eye protection should be added when caring for probable or confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection; airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures.

South Korea is the 3rd Far East Asian country to report the novel coronavirus infection, previously the Philippines and Malaysia reported imported cases.