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Influenza A Claims 9th Victim in Korea

Posted September. 23, 2009 07:24,   


A 40-something woman has become the country’s ninth casualty of influenza A (swine flu) after slipping into a coma Sept.1, the Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry said yesterday.

The woman had been diagnosed with the disease Aug. 31.

Of the more than 15,000 cases of influenza A (swine flu) nationwide, an estimated 82 percent or 12,400 have been cured.

“Influenza A tests conducted Sept. 14-20 found 5,217 more positive cases to raise the total to 15,185 people,” the ministry’s influenza task force said. “The pace of growth is slowing down, however.”

The task force found that the average number of infections over the past week was 745, up from 538 Sept. 7-13, but the pace of growth significantly dropped.

The number of facilities where cases were reported decreased from 213 to 202. The outbreak rate slightly increased from 5.37 per 1,000 outpatients to 6.32.

The number of patients confirmed to be infected with the flu last week and who remain under treatment is 2,752. Another 10,400 cases were cured after showing mild symptoms.

The number of patients hospitalized for pneumonia complications after contracting influenza A is 16, with three of them in intensive care.

“The number of influenza A infections has decreased as we encouraged the use of antiviral drugs to suspected patients and made sure that individuals practice good hygiene by washing hands as a preventive measure,” said Choi Hee-joo, director of the ministry’s health policy department.

“With the possibility of more cases over the Chuseok holidays, it’s hard to say the spread of influenza A has weakened.”

Green Cross, the country’s lone vaccine producer, said it will join the bidding for supplying 400 million doses of vaccines in South America as ordered by the Pan American Health Organization.

Only vaccines approved by Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and the European Union can join the bidding. The health organization will select a manufacturer at the end of this year to supply vaccines from March next year.

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