• Kyodo News


A Japanese woman who arrived from the United States at Narita airport Monday and tested positive for the influenza A virus was confirmed not to be infected with the new strain of the flu virus as a result of further tests, the health ministry said Tuesday.

The woman in her 40s tested positive for the influenza A virus in a preliminary check conducted on the plane upon its arrival at the airport east of Tokyo. Further examinations at the National Institute of Infectious Disease confirmed that the virus she had was not that of the new H1N1 strain that is spreading worldwide. She had instead contracted Soviet A-type influenza, said the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

No cases of the new strain of flu have yet been confirmed in Japan, although there have been several cases in which patients tested positive for the influenza A virus which turned out to be that of a different strain.

The woman had symptoms including a sore throat and a cough, with a temperature of 35 C, when she tested positive in an exam conducted on the plane upon its arrival, the officials said. She was taken to the Japanese Red Cross Narita Hospital in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, where she has been quarantined.

The woman arrived at Narita airport, east of Tokyo, at 3:45 p.m. on a code-sharing flight of American Airlines and Japan Airlines from Los Angeles after staying in Las Vegas, Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials said.

A total of 226 passengers and crew members were on board the flight. Forty-six of them believed to have come into close contact with the patient have been quarantined in the plane and elsewhere and their health conditions are being monitored, the officials added.

A ministry official earlier said, “Even if it’s confirmed through tests that (the woman) has been infected (with the new flu), we will not consider it a case that has come about in Japan because we have quarantined” the patient before she formally entered the country.

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