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China Reports Two Confirmed SARS Cases

Chinese Ministry of Health reported one case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and a suspected case in Anhui Province Friday. The suspected case in Beijing was confirmed and a new suspected case was reported, according to the ministry’s spokesman.


The 26-year-old SARS patient surnamed Song, female, is a postgraduate student at Anhui University of Medical Science. She studied at a laboratory of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Beijing from March 7 to 22. She traveled by train between Beijing and Anhui from the end of March to early April.


On March 29, she went to see the doctor in Beijing's Jiangong Hospital which is near the Chinese CDC and was hospitalized for pneumonia. On April 2, she returned to Anhui. The suspected SARS patient was her mother who had taken care of her since March 31 and died on April 19.


The investigation shows that the Beijing nurse surnamed Li tended the Anhui student when she was treated in Jiangong Hospital between March 29 and April 2. Li was confirmed today as a SARS patient. At present, her temperature has returned to normal. Five people who had close contact with her and have shown some SARS symptoms, such as fever, have been quarantined.


A total of 171 people who have had close contact with the nurse have been identified and put under medical observation.


The new suspected case reported in Beijing is also associated with the Beijing lab. The patient surnamed Yang, 31, is a post-doctorate researcher working with the lab. He got a fever on April 17 and was sent to Ditan Hospital for treatment on April 22.


In view that both Song and Yang worked in the same lab, some experts consider that the current attack of the SARS virus may be caused by lab infection. The Ministry of Health has arranged closure of the Virus Prevention and Control Institute under the Chinese CDC where the lab is located and relevant institute staff has been put under medical observation. Experts have been organized to probe into the source of infection.


(China.org.cn April 23, 2004)

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