The death toll from South Korea’s MERS outbreak has risen to 23, according to officials, a day after the United Nations’ health agency said incompetence had led to the spread of the virus.

South Korea’s health ministry also said Thursday they have confirmed three more cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, bringing the total number of known infections to 165.

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Seoul officials insist the disease has peaked and is largely contained to medical facilities, but concerns are still mounting over what is the largest MERS outbreak outside the Middle East.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday said South Korean officials failed to implement sufficient measures to prevent the spread of the disease, for which there is no cure or vaccine.

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Among the main factors the WHO cited as contributing to the outbreak were a lack of awareness about the disease among health care workers and inadequate infection prevention and control measures in hospitals.


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