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Epidemiol Health. 2015;37(1):e2015049. English. Original Article.
Park YS , Lee C , Kim KM , Kim SW , Lee KJ , Ahn J , Ki M .
Division of Epidemic Intelligence Service, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Korea.
Division of Public Health and Hygiene, Seoul City Hall, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Cancer Control and Policy, Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.

This study reviewed problems in the prevention of outbreak and spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and aimed to provide assistance in establishing policies to prevent and manage future outbreaks of novel infectious diseases of foreign origin via in-depth epidemiological investigation of the patient who initiated the MERS outbreak in Korea, 2015. Personal and phone interviews were conducted with the patient and his guardians, and his activities in Saudi Arabia were investigated with the help of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health. Clinical courses and test results were confirmed from the medical records. The patient visited 4 medical facilities and contacted 742 people between May 11, 2015, at symptom onset, and May 20, at admission to the National Medical Center; 28 people were infected and diagnosed with MERS thereafter. Valuable lessons learned included: (1) epidemiological knowledge on the MERS transmission pattern and medical knowledge on its clinical course; (2) improvement of epidemiological investigative methods via closed-circuit television, global positioning system tracking, and review of Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service records; (3) problems revealed in the existing preventive techniques, including early determination of the various people contacted; (4) experiences with preventive methods used for the first time in Korea, including cohort quarantine; (5) reconsideration of the management systems for infectious disease outbreaks across the country, such as this case, at the levels of central government, local government, and the public; (6) reconsideration of hospital infectious disease management systems, culture involving patient visitation, and emergency room environments.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.