Nine new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been confirmed, including a Korean Air Force member stationed at the US air base in South Korea.
The Korean chief master sergeant was tested positive for MERS at an off-base hospital. He has not shown any symptoms and is undergoing further testing, according to an Osan Air Base statement. There have been no other diagnosed cases of MERS on the base, the statement added.
A care plan for the air base has been established and the 51st Medical Group is working with both US and South Korean public health officials .
CNN reported that the air force member remains in isolation at a military hospital on the base, according to a Korean Department of Defence official.
The sergeant was seeking treatment for another ailment at the same hospital as the first MERS patient in South Korea. However, all six South Korean civilians and 164 soldiers are under quarantine in their barracks, CNN reported.
According to Star and Stripes which provides news to the US military community, Osan's public affairs office has assured that troops and civilians at the air base face little risk. "We assess the risk of exposure to be minimal to low as MERS is only transmitted by extended contact with the individual."
Meanwhile South Korea's Health Ministry said the total number of people with confirmed MERS has risen to 50, although one patient has recovered and has been discharged. All of the nine new cases were traced to the initial patient, according to Reuters.
Four people have reported to have died from MERS in South Korea.