77-year-old overcomes MERS

By: Jhoo Dong-chan

A 77-year-old woman who has suffered from asthma for 20 years has recovered from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Wednesday, Kim Bok-soon is completely free of the virus and has been released from hospital after receiving intensive care for 8 days.

Kim is the third person reported to have completely recovered from the disease in Korea.

“I never thought that I was going to die,” Kim said during an interview with the vernacular Chosun Ilbo newspaper. “I want to tell the public not to be scared (of MERS). Even an old person like me beat the disease.”

She was believed to have become infected with the virus when she was hospitalized at Pyeongtaek St. Mary’s Hospital to get treatment last month.

Kim stayed in a ward on the eighth floor from May 4 to May 16. After returning home, Kim started to experience fever symptoms.

She re-visited the hospital and was prescribed stronger medicine.

Even after taking the medicine for a week, she saw no improvement but only got worse. And her whole body started to ache.

On May 29, Kim visited Pyeongtaek Good Morning Hospital instead as Pyeongtaek St. Mary’s Hospital was shut down due to the spread of MERS within the hospital.

Two days later, Kim was confirmed to have been infected with MERS and sent to a government-designated hospital for MERS treatment.

According to the health ministry, Kim’s condition was the most critical among three patients confirmed to have MERS on May 31 because the virus had already spread through her lungs.

Also, pneumonia was found during an X-ray examination. Her body temperature rose to 39 degrees Celcius.

However, thanks to the intensive care, Kim’s fever went away and her body temperature returned to normal on June 5.

The hospital then carried out tests for the virus on Kim to see if she showed signs of fever or other known symptoms of MERS for 48 hours, and her blood test results were negative two consecutive times.

Kim went home on June 9.


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