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S. Korea confirms human bird flu infection
posted by admin on 12/01/07
SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's disease control agency said Thursday it has confirmed a human infection of the avian influenza virus.
The state-run Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), which conducted tests among 26 residents near four farms in the southwestern region hit by bird flu in November and December last year, said it has discovered a person whom tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. The person was reportedly working at one of the farms then.
KCDC is testing 59 more people, including farm owners and others who worked around the three poultry farms and a quail farm. Final results are likely to come out by the end of the month.
Despite the positive test results, the infected person has shown no symptoms so far, the KCDC added, and they are reluctant to label the person as a "patient."
The infected person reportedly took the antiviral drug Tamiflu while engaging in culling at one of the farms, according to KCDC's epidemic control team chief Kwon Joon-wook.
"It seems that the use of Tamiflu in the early stages of the quarantine process helped prevent symptoms from developing," said Kwon at a press briefing at the Health Ministry.
The discovery was the third of its kind in South Korea, following the initial discovery of four non-symptomatic infections in February 2006 and five similar cases in September, among people engaged in the slaughtering of birds exposed to the H5N1 strain of the virus from late 2003 to March 2004.
South Korea was hit by bird flu between December 2003 and March 2004, requiring 5.3 million poultry to be destroyed at the cost of about 1 trillion won (US$956 million). The country was recently hit again by four cases centered in the southwestern region.
The H5N1 strain of the virus has killed at least 72 people in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam since late 2003.
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