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Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2017 Dec;8(6):373-376. doi: 10.24171/j.phrp.2017.8.6.03. Epub 2017 Dec 31.

Effects of Timely Control Intervention on the Spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection.

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Department of Statistics, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.
Department of Mathematics, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.



The 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in Korea caused major economic and social problems. The control intervention was conducted during the MERS-CoV outbreak in Korea immediately after the confirmation of the index case. This study investigates whether the early risk communication with the general public and mass media is an effective preventive strategy.


The SEIR (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered) model with estimated parameters for the time series data of the daily MERS-CoV incidence in Korea was considered from May to December 2015. For 10,000 stochastic simulations, the SEIR model was computed using the Gillespie algorithm. Depending on the time of control intervention on the 20th, 40th, and 60th days after the identification of the index case, the box plots of MERS-CoV incidences in Korea were computed, and the results were analyzed via ANOVA.


The box plots showed that there was a significant difference between the non-intervention and intervention groups (the 20th day, 40th day, and 60th day groups) and seemed to show no significant difference based on the time of intervention. However, the ANOVA revealed that early intervention was a good strategy to control the disease.


Appropriate risk communication can secure the confidence of the general public in the public health authorities.


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; basic reproduction number; infectious disease transmission

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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