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Official Guidelines for SARS Control Published in Guangdong
The government of south China's Guangdong Province, the site of the first reported cases of serious acute respiratory syndromes (SARS), has published a series of official guidelines aimed at bringing the epidemic under strict control.

A leading official with the Guangdong Provincial Medical Bureau told Xinhua that the timely publication of the guidelines which outline ideal, effective therapies and preventive measures constitutes valuable experience in control and eradication of the disease.

On January 23, when the epidemic was first reported, the authorities circulated an in-depth investigative report among local hospitals requesting that they be on the watch for symptoms of the mysterious disease and to observe and treat the patients with intensive care.

On February 3, the provincial bureau issued a notice on the control and prevention of the mysterious disease and worked out the criteria for clinical diagnosis, control and laboratory work relating to the illness.

On March 9, the Provincial Medical Bureau issued "the Guidelines for the Treatment of Atypical Pneumonia Patients in Hospitals of Guangdong Province" which contain three sets of criteria for the diagnosis of the disease in adults, children and critically ill patients as well as 10 proposed therapies for the treatment of the disease.

On March 27, the bureau issued another two guidelines for the disease prevention and control, one for schools and kindergartens and the other for public places.

The official said the key to preventing the epidemic hinges on diagnosis and treatment of patients in the early stages of the disease.

In March, Guangdong Province had brought the disease under control, as evidenced by a significant drop in the number of new cases. Between March 1 and March 31, 361 new cases were detected, down 47.5 percent from the previous month.

In March, 507 patients had recovered and were discharged from the hospital, 133 less than in the month of February. In March, the disease claimed nine lives, 18 less than in February.

(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2003)

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