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HK's Atypical Pneumonia Cases Reach 197
The number of Hong Kong's atypical pneumonia cases reached 197 in Hong Kong Friday, with 70 percent of the first round of about 100 patients improving with the current treatment of ribavirin and steroids.

The Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong said at a press conference that other than the few patients who died after receiving the treatment at a later stage of illness, the remaining patients are stable.

The Hospital Authority's Director (Professional Services and Public Affairs) Ko Wing-man said that he believed more people would require intensive care as the course of the illness progressed.

Ko said another "cluster" of cases had been reported from the Baptist Hospital, making nine clusters altogether, namely four associated with the original sufferer who stayed at a hotel in Kowloon, and five in the community.

However, Yeoh pointed out that health care professionals and their families still made up the majority of cases indicating that the disease was transmitted by close contact and that it was very infectious in its late stages.

Yeoh urged doctors to wear masks when seeing patients, particularly those with respiratory symptoms.

(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2003)

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