3rd cholera patient ate raw fish and lied about it

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3rd cholera patient ate raw fish and lied about it

The third cholera patient recently identified was later found to have visited a raw sushi restaurant in Geoje, South Gyeongsang, contrary to the patient’s former claim.

The third patient, 63, who initially said that he caught the virus even though he ate cooked seafood he had bought from a fish market in Geoje, was confirmed to have actually visited a raw sushi restaurant in Geoje.

The patient’s credit card payment record showed that the patient visited a raw sushi restaurant on Aug. 18, and the seafood he consumed was actually horse mackerel and not sardines.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that they discovered the patient had visited a raw sushi restaurant while looking through the patient’s credit card payment record.

The patient had told epidemiology officials that he “ate roasted sardines and cooked squid after purchasing the seafood from a fish market in Geoje.”

The chances of being infected by cholera are much lower when the seafood is cooked.

Chung Jin-suk, director of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday, “I was surprised to hear that much heat was applied to the seafood before consumption.”

He added, “There is no problem if the seafood is thoroughly cooked or roasted, but I wondered if the sardines were not cooked enough. If the cholera bacteria was stuck in between the fish skin or gills, then there was a chance that it was not cooked enough to be safe for consumption.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention widened their quarantine efforts to include people who ate the same food as the third cholera patient, as well as all medical staff that came into contact with him. Inspection into the sushi restaurant, however, did not start yet as the restaurant is currently closed.

“The atmosphere in Geoje does not look good,” said an official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “and people are hostile towards the quarantine officials, making the investigation difficult.”

The official continued, “The third patient was very upset when he discovered he contracted the virus, and it was difficult to discover what the patient consumed.”

BY SEO YOUNG-JI [chung.jinhong@joongang.co.kr]

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