[Paparazzi Corner] 5 things you should know about the Middle East Respiratory Symdrome (MERS) affecting Korea


15 June 2015, Singapore – As gossipy as I can be, and writing about any weird topics as you have seen for Paparazzi Corner; some problems and 2 cents of mine can be quite real. The Korean influence has been big in our region, and I do have friends traveling to Korea almost every year (myself included). The recent outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea has raised alarm bells amongst many, but there are also a fair share of people unaware of it’s dangers. Think SARS in 2004, which quickly became a global issue.

The very danger that even doctors aren’t fully aware of the characteristics of MERS makes it a more dangerous threat. The respiratory virus was brought back into Korea while a Korean businessman apparently contracted it while in Middle East on business. By the time it was diagnosed as the MERS, the man has already visited multiple hospitals and left trails of the virus around the country. I am not going to discourage traveling to Korea, but will want our readers to be weary of what this MERS is all about; while exercising caution when paying your visit to the motherland of K-Pop.


1. Common Symptoms of MERS
MERS usually starts out looking like any old common cold, causing fever, coughs and shortness of breath. Sometimes additional complications like nausea and vomitting may also be there.

2. How MERS is thought to be spread
Although the exact way of how MERS is spread is not completely known, it is thought to be spread amongst humans though close contact with each other. Another possibility is through the spread of “respiratory secretions” containing the virus, so moving around with high quality masks should be good.

3. MERS is not 100% fatal
MERS should not be fatal unless it is contracted by people who has underlying medical conditions, where the virus can create various complications.

4. There is NO VACCINES and CURE for the virus
At current time, just like when SARS initially swept across the world; there is no available vaccines or cure for this virus.

5. There are no obvious signs of MERS becoming a pandemic in Korea
Although it may sound scary, but so far it seems that the virus was spreading through a “superspreader” that is pointing towards the businessman. This also means the virus is spreading through the original virus carried into the country, and no evidence of a virus mutation.


Having said the above, I still believe that maintaining a good standard of personal hygiene and always wear a mask while moving around in Korea is essential. If you intend to travel with young children, I personally think it is safer to re-think. Avoid crowded places where you will come in close contact with other people. Do your research and make all necessary preparations if traveling to Korea is essential (chasing idols in this case I will not consider essential).

Oh, if you think wearing a mask is pure ugly; you need to let us teach you how to wear a mask like a star. Check out our [Swag Check] The K-Pop Haze Edition.

Article by: James @ KAvenyou

KAvenyou: Singapore to Korea – Music, Wanderlust, Foodie, Lifestyle.

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