So I posted this on Facebook and thought it might be good to share here as well for anyone who is in Korea or coming to Korea and might be concerned.
To friends and family back home who may be watching about the MERS outbreak in Korea. First of all, I’m fine. I haven’t been anywhere near the areas where the virus has popped up, I’ve been no where near a hospital period in a very long time, no one around me as been in those areas or near people who have been infected or are in quarantine and I’m in relatively good health at the moment, so the chances of me catching it at this point are very, very slim. Yes, it’s serious, however, at the moment it seems to be isolated to people who were at the hospital where the first patient who was diagnosed was at, so for the time being, I’m not worried and you shouldn’t be either.
To friends in Korea who might be getting concerned, yes there is reason for concern, however, I don’t think it’s at the point where people should become paranoid. It doesn’t hurt to take precautions if you’re worried - wash your hands frequently, carry antibacterial hand stuff with you and use it after touching objects in public. Basically the same precautions you would take during a flu outbreak. If you are really concerned, start wearing masks. If you already have pre-existing medical conditions or have compromised immune systems, you are a little bit more at risk, so it’s a good idea to take extra precautions.
MERS spreads through close contact with someone who is infected and so far there are only 3 tertiary infections, meaning not everyone who is infected will pass it on. A vast majority of the 30 cases got it from patient zero, however they are now putting anyone who has been in contact with any infected person in quarantine for 2 weeks just to be safe. For the time being it seems to be mostly outside of Seoul, so if you live far from those areas that are affected, I don’t think you should have to worry too much.
If you are planning to come to Korea soon and are concerned, at this point, I don’t think there is any reason to cancel your plans. As mentioned, it’s still isolated to certain areas and there are over 600 in quarantine with that number expected to go up to 750 now that the health authorities are starting to pull in anyone who has had contact with any infected person and not just those in contact with the first patient. The first patient was diagnosed on May 20, so we have about 30 cases in two weeks. For reference, there are almost 50 million people in Korea, most located in Seoul and surrounding areas, so while it is worrying, it’s not at the zombie apocalypse point just yet. From what I’m seeing in my company’s reports, most of the infected caught it from the first patient and had been in quarantine, limiting their access to others. (Except the idiot who was allowed to get on a plane to China.)
So just stay safe out there, and you should be fine. If you feel like you might be coming down with something - high fever, cough, shortness of breath, in some cases nausea, vomiting or diarrea - then put on a mask and go to a hospital - that isn’t on the MERS patient list in which if you didn’t have it you could risk getting exposed - and get checked just in case.