SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The last South Korean patient, who had been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and discharged lastly from hospital after being tested negative, was hospitalized again Monday, the country's health authorities said Tuesday.
The 80th infectee, 35, entered hospital again as he was confirmed positive with the MERS corona virus, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. He left hospital on Oct. 1 after being tested negative twice.
Medical staffs treating the patient, who has already suffered from lymphoma causing immunity disorder, stressed the"near-zero" possibility for him to have infected other people, but the authorities put about 60 people believed to have had contact with the patient into self-quarantine.
Doctors said that some pieces of gene left inside the patient' s body might have been detected during the testing. The pieces were believed to be dead virus, not fresh one proliferating inside.
The re-hospitalization was expected to delay the official end to the country's MERS outbreak as the World Health Organization ( WHO) recommends such announcement four weeks after the last patient is tested negative.
The deadly viral disease had infected 186 South Koreans since it was first found in the country on May 20. South Korea became the most MERS-contagious nation outside the Middle East, with the combined death toll recorded at 36.