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Korea reports this year's first fatal case of Vibrio vulnificus infection

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By Jung Min-ho

A woman has died after contracting Vibrio vulnificus, in Korea's first fatal case of the bacterial infection this year, health officials said on Wednesday.

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, a woman in her 70s died on May 16 after showing symptoms such as leg pain and swelling for several days. Officials said she was confirmed on May 20 to have been infected with the pathogen, which can be found in warm coastal waters or raw seafood.

Officials did not reveal the details of the case, such as what type of food she had consumed before her death.

The summer months have higher incidence rates of Vibrio infections. More than 90 percent of 69 cases reported in the country last year occurred between August and October, officials said. Of the patients, most of whom were in their 50s or older, died.

Given that most people with mild symptoms did not receive medical treatment, the actual number was believed to be far higher.

If infected, symptoms such as skin wounds, blisters, abscesses and ulcers can be observed. Chills, fever, diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting may also occur.

People with an open wound are at higher risk of infection as it can be transmitted by its exposure to the bacteria. Experts said those with underlying health conditions are also more vulnerable as it is more likely to lead to septicemia, a life-threatening illness resulting from the body's extreme response to an infection.

Jung Min-ho


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