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Korea’s 2nd Swine Flu Case Suspected

Posted May. 01, 2009 07:23,   


Health authorities might have found the country’s second case of swine flu yesterday, as a 65-year-old woman was found to be living with a 50-year-old nun classified as a “probable” swine flu case.

The woman is known to have shown acute respiratory infection symptoms such as coughing, runny nose and sore throat. She was put on the investigation and inspection list and quarantined in her quarters.

Health authorities are testing her specimen for swine flu. She is the first to be classified a subject for investigation and inspection among those who contacted the “probable” patient. The test results will come out this morning at the earliest.

The World Health Organization Wednesday raised the pandemic alert level a notch from Phase 4 to 5. Phase 5, the second-highest level, is declared when human-to-human transmission cases are discovered on more than two continents, signaling an “impending pandemic” outbreak.

World Health Organization Director-general Margaret Chan said shortly after the third meeting of the organization’s Emergency Committee that all of humanity is under threat of the pandemic. “All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans,” she said.

With the pandemic alert level raised to Phase 5, the government will run the central quarantine response center around the clock under the direction of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Minister Jeon Jae-hee. With no additional suspected cases of swine flu emerging, however, the national disaster alert system remains at Level 2.

The number of people put on the investigation and inspection list for swine flu declined from 16 to four yesterday. Among 23 people who reported suspicious symptoms to health authorities, 18 tested negative.

Mexico, the epicenter of the swine flu outbreak, reported an additional 17 deaths from the disease the same day, raising the death toll to 177 -- 176 in Mexico and one in the United States.

As of yesterday, 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa reported swine flu outbreaks and around 4,000 people have been either confirmed or suspected of contracting the swine flu virus.

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