More on MERS

Via the BBC:

“More than 70 cases have been traced back to the hospital, authorities say.

Among them was an emergency ward orderly who worked for days after developing symptoms and came into contact with more than 200 people, officials said.

It is believed the orderly picked up the virus from an infected person who waited for days in various parts of the emergency ward, potentially exposing the virus to an estimated 900 staff, patients and visitors.

South Korea reported seven new cases on Sunday and the 15th victim died in the city of Busan.”

The hospital in question is Samsung Medical Center, widely regarded as the best hospital in the country.  And this is a country with a hospital or small clinic on almost every street corner.

Also, it may sound shocking but in Korean work and school culture, if you aren’t actively bleeding out of an artery, you go to work or school when you’re sick.  I spent a year teaching in a Korean kindergarten, and I was shocked at how parents thought sending a deathly ill child into school was the “right thing to do.”

But a sick orderly?  That’s just insane.

In a previous post I mentioned that South Korea had a lot going for it in terms of handling an outbreak.  The national health care system (which I’m on and pay into as a legal alien) is a strong one.  In addition,  Koreans can be hypochondriacs — if I so much as cough my boss will suggest I go to the hospital immediately.

Of course, if you have to work when you’re sick it makes sense to seek medical attention and get better as soon as possible.  If you don’t have sick days this makes sense.

In any event though, if people actively break quarantine and medical staff work while sick, well, you’re basically flaunting the most basic rules of disease prevention.  Good luck with that.

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