First possible mystery pneumonia case reported in South Korea
A 36-year-old Chinese woman has been quarantined by South Korean authorities under suspicion of transporting a form of viral pneumonia with an unknown cause to the country.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Korea Centers of Disease Control and Prevention believes the woman visited Wuhan, a Chinese city thought to be the center of the disease’s outbreak, during a recent business trip to mainland China.
The case, if confirmed, would be the first to appear in South Korea following dozens reported sickened by the disease in China and neighboring Singapore, placing authorities on high alert for symptoms.
As many as 59 people have been hospitalized in Wuhan due to the illness, and the unidentified woman is currently undergoing medical tests to determine whether she contracted the same disease. The woman reportedly told investigators that she had no contact with animals in the city and did not visit the Huanan Seafood market, where many cases of the sickness have been traced.
A World Health Organization (WHO) report on the disease suggested that contact with seafood at the market may have been the cause for the virus, which is still not fully understood.
“According to the authorities, some patients were operating dealers or vendors in the Huanan Seafood market. Based on the preliminary information from the Chinese investigation team, no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission and no health care worker infections have been reported,” read the WHO report.
“The reported link to a wholesale fish and live animal market could indicate an exposure link to animals,” the report continued.