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Check-ups of Ex-SARS Patients Underway

Check-ups are being arranged for people who have recovered from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) through a centralized system, Chairman of Hospital Authority (HA) Leong Chi-hung said Sunday.

About 10 percent of them have been found to be suffering from a degenerative bone disorder, he disclosed.

To avoid different hospitals making their own efforts to follow up on recovered SARS patients, the work is now being coordinated by the HA, Leong explained. Several nurses have been assigned to liaise with 1,400 former SARS patients and arrange for them to undertake physical check-ups.

Twelve government clinics are dedicated to the task; and they will check former SARS patients on the conditions of their lungs and bones as well as their mental state.

So far, 400-500 such former patients have been processed, and about 10 per cent of have been found to have a degenerative bone disorder, Leong said.

However, these patients may not have to undergo any operation, and the best cure may be found after more data is collected on the disease, Leong said.

According to a statement issued by HA, 49 former SARS patients have contracted the bone disorder -- avascular necrosis, which hampers blood flow to the bone and leads to fractures. The disease usually affects the hip joints.

(China Daily HK Edition November 10, 2003)

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