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(LEAD) S. Korea confirms 3rd cholera infection

All Headlines 15:54 August 31, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; ADDS more information in paras 8-10, photo)

SEOUL/CHANGWON, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has confirmed an additional case of cholera, raising the number of people infected with the waterborne disease here to three, officials said Wednesday.

A 64-year-old man residing on the southern island of Geoje is presumed to have contracted the disease from eating seafood earlier this month, the South Gyeongsang Provincial Government said.

The regional government said the man received treatment at an intensive unit of a hospital in the southern port city of Busan after complaining of a stomachache.

The patient remains in stable condition but is under quarantine, officials said, noting that he had no contact with the previously infected patients.

Last week, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced the first case of the disease after a 59-year-old man in the southern city of Gwangju was diagnosed, the first case in 15 years.

All three people consumed seafood at different restaurants on Geoje Island, officials said.

Inspections are currently under way at the local restaurant the man visited, the provincial government said, suspecting the cholera bacteria may have been in imported seafood.

The KCDC ruled out the possibility of mass infection at the moment, although all of the cases occurred on Geoje Island.

"Authorities are thoroughly and seriously taking countermeasures as all of three patients were found on Geoje Island," Jeong Ki-Seok, KCDC chief, told reporters.

Jeong said the agency is conducting further studies whether the seawater has been contaminated with cholera bacteria.

The diarrheal disease, which is curable with proper medication and treatment, annually affects 3 million to 5 million people and claims more than 100,000 lives throughout the world.

khj@yna.co.kr
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