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Slovakian hospital tests South Korean man in suspected Mers case

A Bratislava hospital is testing a 38-year-old South Korean man for possible Middle east respiratory syndrome (Mers), a spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The hospital has sent tests to a laboratory in Prague and expects results on Sunday, spokeswoman Petra Stano Matasovska said. She said the patient was in stable condition.

Slovakian media reported the man was transported from the city of Zilina, 200km north of the Slovak capital. The area is home to a Kia Motors factory and media said the man worked for a subcontractor of the South Korean carmaker and that he was staying in a hotel in Zilina.

The virus has infected 138 people in South Korea and killed 14 of them since it was first diagnosed on 20 May in a businessman who had returned from a trip to the Middle East.

The outbreak in South Korea is the largest outside Saudi Arabia, where the disease was first identified in humans in 2012, and has stirred fears in Asia of a repeat of a 2002-2003 scare when Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) killed about 800 people worldwide.

Mers is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that caused Sars. It is more deadly than Sars but does not spread as easily.