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S. Korea unlikely to face fast spread of 'unidentified virus': gov't agency

May 11, 2011 - 20:25 By 양승진

  The unidentified virus that might have caused the death of a South Korean woman earlier this week does not seem to be spreading quickly, the nation's disease control agency said Wednesday.

   The 36-year-old woman died on Monday in the intensive care unit at a Seoul hospital after being admitted last month for tuberculosis. Her infection and death were caused by an unidentified virus, the first of its kind here in Korea.

   Six more women are currently being treated for similar cases of pneumonia at the hospital, raising concerns that the unknown virus might have been spreading fast among citizens here.

   "We conducted tests on samples taken from the six patients and found no viruses that might have caused the death of the woman except that we detected adenovirus in just one patient," said an official for the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

   The KCDC official noted that adenovirus is commonly known to cause colds and pneumonia but it seems to have had nothing to do with the death of the woman earlier this week.

   All of those patients reportedly showed such symptoms as coughing and breathing disruptions in the early stages, with their lungs suffering pulmonary fibrosis. Most of them either recently gave birth or are currently pregnant.

   The KCDC said it will conduct further tests to determine the woman's exact cause of death and the symptoms among the other patients by analyzing food they have eaten and other factors such as their living environments.

(Yonhap News)