Posted May. 08, 2009 08:18,
With the new strain of Influenza A (H1N1) rapidly spreading in the United States, fears are escalating over more deaths.
According to The Associated Press, 642 people in 41 states were infected with the virus as of Wednesday, up 59 percent from 403 in 38 states the previous day.
Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said all 50 states are expected to be affected by the new strain. Given the increasing number of people infected with the virus around the world, he said it will be rather surprising if the pandemic alert level is not raised to Phase 6.
With the disease showing signs of abating in Mexico, the World Health Organization said yesterday that the virus has affected 1,893 people in 23 countries.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said a 62-year-old woman who returned from Mexico aboard the same plane as Koreas first confirmed Influenza A patient was infected with the virus. The woman, once the countrys third probable patient, was released from the hospital after showing no signs of flu symptoms.
Health authorities are investigating if the third patient caught the disease from the first patient on the plane. In addition, they are tracking down 11 people who took the same buses as the third patient when she visited Daejeon.
The confirmed influenza A patients have all recovered after showing mild symptoms, and no probable case has been reported for four consecutive days. So health authorities said the toxicity of virus is not as severe as feared.
Lee Jong-koo, the head of the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, said, It seems we have turned the corner.
The government issued a Level 1 travel warning yesterday for an additional 15 countries where confirmed cases of the disease occurred: the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Britain, Ireland, France, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.