Hyun Sook Jo, Sung Eun Yi*, Chung Sook Kim, Jeong Mo Park, Mi Jin Shin and Hyang Soon Oh
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to find what was the social responses and to identify the failure and weakness in 2015 MERS control in South Korea, and to suggest the strategy for emerging infectious diseases in the future.
Method: The period of data collection was from May 21 2015, when MERS outbreak was reported on ‘H’ offline newspaper for the first time to July 31 2015, the day when South Korean government declared the eradication of MERS in the country. The total news items (NIs) collected for the analysis was 457.
Result: There were 895 MERS NIs on the ‘H’ newspaper and 457 MERS NIs were adopted for this study. There were 462 MERS NIs on epidemiology of MERS, 250 MERS NIs on public health related.
There were 428 MERS NIs related to central and local government. The NIs related to MOHW was 163 NIs.
Other social and cultural issues including hazardous communication and hospital visiting attitude were reported in 270 MERS NIs.
Conclusion: The philosophy and policy of the central government was the key to control emerging infection when the experiences in SARS compared to the MERS cases in Korea. The change of weather pattern was another key point in MERS outbreak in Korea. Also the crowded hospital environment because of relatives and friends visiting the patients was one of the causes of Korean MERS outbreak. Moreover, the public attitudes including hand washing, self-responsibility and corporation in isolation were also the points to control emerging respiratory infection. For the future in Korea, there have to be a paradigm change in governmental corporation and public like the Taiwan cases.