Sunday January 19, 2020

South Korea Confirms First Case of MERS Since 2015

Most of the 38 deaths that occurred due to the virus in South Korea were elderly people or patients affected by other illnesses.

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South Korean police on Friday sought an arrest warrant against the younger daughter of the president of Korean Air for allegedly assaulting an advertising agency executive in April.
Flag of South Korea, Pixabay

South Korean authorities on Sunday confirmed the first case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since the outbreak that affected the country in 2015 leaving 187 infected and 38 dead.

The patient, a 61-year-old man, was diagnosed with the virus on Saturday after returning from a business trip in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with transit in Kuwait, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The South Korean government has convened an emergency meeting to analyse the situation and take preventive measures.

 

South Korea, MERS
Statistics depicting MERS in South Korea.

 

The patient was admitted to a hospital in Kuwait when he began to show some symptoms of the disease and upon arrival to South Korea was transferred to the Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul.

 

The hospital alerted the authorities that it could be a possible case of MERS as symptoms included high fever and pneumonia and moved the patient to the Seoul National University Hospital where he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.

Around 20 people who were in close contact with the patient, including passengers and crew members of his flight and immigration officers, have been quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus.

South Korea, MERS
This is the first case of MERS in South Korea since its outbreak recorded between May and December 2015,

This is the first case of MERS in South Korea since its outbreak recorded between May and December 2015, after this virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and subsequently expanded to other countries.

Also Read: Harare, Zimbabwe Suffers From Cholera Outbreak

 

The mortality rate of MERS in South Korea reached 20 per cent during the outbreak, below the figures between 30 and 40 per cent that were recorded in other areas.

Most of the 38 deaths that occurred due to the virus in South Korea were elderly people or patients affected by other illnesses. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How Fitbit Smartwatch May Help You Predict Flu in Real-Time

The authors identify several limitations in their study

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Fitbit
Resting heart rate tends to spike during infectious episodes and this is captured by wearable devices such as Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers that track heart rate. Pixabay

In a first-ever study on wearable devices to improve surveillance of infectious disease, researchers in the US have achieved real-time flu prediction in five states, using resting heart rate and sleep tracking data from Fitbit users.

Resting heart rate tends to spike during infectious episodes and this is captured by wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers that track heart rate.

Influenza results in 650,000 deaths worldwide annually. And approximately 7 per cent of working adults and 20 per cent of children aged under five years get flu each year.

“Responding more quickly to influenza outbreaks can prevent further spread and infection, and we were curious to see if sensor data could improve real-time surveillance at the state level,” said study author Dr Jennifer Radin from Scripps Research Translational Institute.

The researchers reviewed de-identified data from 200,000 users who wore a Fitbit wearable device that tracks users’ activity, heart rate and sleep for at least 60 days during the study time.

fitbit
In a first-ever study on wearable devices to improve surveillance of infectious disease, researchers in the US have achieved real-time flu prediction in five states, using resting heart rate and sleep tracking data from Fitbit users. Pixabay

From the 200,000, 47,248 users from California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania wore a Fitbit device consistently during the study period, resulting in a total of 13,342,651 daily measurements evaluated.

The average user was 43 years old and 60 per cent were female.

De-identified data from the users retrospectively identified weeks with elevated resting heart rate and changes to routine sleep, said the research published in The Lancet Digital Health journal.

“In the future as these devices improve, and with access to 24/7 real-time data, it may be possible to identify rates of influenza on a daily instead of weekly basis,” said Radin.

This data was compared to weekly estimates for influenza-like illness rates reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This is the first time heart rate trackers and sleep data have been used to predict flu, or any infectious disease, in real-time.

With greater volumes of data it may be possible to apply the method to more geographically refined areas, such as county or city-level.

The authors identify several limitations in their study.

Weekly resting heart rate averages may include days when an individual is both sick and not sick, and this may result in underestimation of illness by lowering the weekly averages.

Fitbit
This is the first time heart rate trackers and sleep data have been used to predict flu, or any infectious disease, in real-time. Pixabay

Other factors may also increase resting heart rate, including stress or other infections.

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Lastly, the authors noted that previous studies of sleep measuring devices have been found to have low accuracy, though they said that accuracy will continue to improve as technology evolves. (IANS)