The Korea Herald


Woman dies from mystery virus

By 이지윤

Published : May 26, 2011 - 19:18

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One of seven hospitalized with unknown virus dies 16 days after first death

Another pregnant woman has died of acute pneumonia caused by an unidentified virus, the health authorities confirmed Thursday.

She was the second death among the seven pregnant women who had been hospitalized at a Seoul hospital in April for infection with the unknown virus.

The 36-year-old woman first visited the hospital on April 21 with early flu symptoms and breathing difficulty and was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

She died less than a month after hospitalization, like the nine-month pregnant woman who died on May 10.

She was the only woman who tested positive for type-53 adenovirus but health officials earlier said that they could not find any direct connectivity between her illness and the virus.

Despite growing fears among other pregnant patients and their family members, the KCDC and the hospital have yet to find out the cause of the unidentified pneumonia.

Considering no similar case has been detected in an investigation covering 43 university hospitals nationwide, health officials said it was unlikely the virus would be infectious.

According to health officials, there were some deaths caused by unidentified types of pneumonia. However, it has rarely happened that previously healthy and young people develop symptoms for such a short period.

It was also unusual that the eight patients, including the two who died, suffered breathing difficulty unlike other pneumonia patients who usually show early symptoms such as fever.

The hospital also started studying a paper on deaths of young children aged 2-5 with similar symptoms over the years. It was investigating the possibility that the mothers could have been infected with a respiratory disease from their babies.

By Lee Ji-yoon (