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SARS May Come Again, But in Different Genre: WHO

Although severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infection from human to human has been interrupted globally, the virus is by no means eradicated. It may come again in winter, but present in a different genre, warned the visiting World Health Organization (WHO) official, Shigeru Omi, in Macao Wednesday.

"This particular disease may not come, but new diseases present similar symptoms on human beings like SARS may turn up," said the WHO Western Pacific Regional director, who arrived in Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Monday on a three-day inspection visit at the invitation of the SAR government on the review work of SARS control.

Omi called on the whole international community to stay vigilant against SARS. "But there is no need to be panic. If a new SARS disease came, the experiences gained would ensure a response better than what we did before," he said.

Omi is the fourth WHO expert to visit Macao this year, which isa member of the WHO's West-Pacific Region. He highly praised the SAR's effective containment of the disease, which broke out in Macao's neighboring regions of Guangdong and Hong Kong in April.

Omi concluded four factors which ensured Macao remained a "safety island" in the epidemic outbreak with just one imported SARS case found in the SAR.

(Xinhua News Agency   July 31, 2003)

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