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(LEAD) Suspected MERS patient released after testing negative

All Headlines 21:21 September 29, 2018

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with reports of suspected MERS patient being released after testing negative)

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- A patient suspected of having contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was released Saturday after initial test results came back negative for infection, local health authorities said.

The suspected patient, a 27-year-old female, had been in quarantine since Friday when she reported having possible symptoms of MERS.

Quarantine officials in the western port city of Incheon said the patient worked for an airline and that she had visited the United Arab Emirates and the United States before returning home Wednesday.

She tested negative in the initial test.

The quarantine officials earlier said the patient could be released after a second test, but they decided to release her on grounds that there was little possibility she came in contact with the deadly disease.

The disease claimed 38 lives in South Korea in 2015, out of 186 people infected that year.

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