China reports ninth recent possible SARS case
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China reports ninth recent possible SARS case

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    Thursday, April 29, 2004, 18:30 EDT (6:30 PM EDT)


    The Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one new possible case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SA RS) in Beijing yesterday, bringing the total to nine possible cases. This new possible case was in a person known to have been in close contact with a 20-year-old nurse who was previously reported as a "confirmed" case by the Chinese MOH.

    Chinese health authorities also reported that two additional cases that were previously listed as "suspect" now meet the MOH criteria for "confirmed" cases. Of the nine reported cases in China, four are classified by Chinese health authorities as "confirmed" and five are listed as "suspected." According to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the global surveillance of SARS, classification as a confirmed case at the start of an outbreak requires independent verification of results by an external international reference laboratory. Such procedures are considered by WHO to be necessary in view of the implications that confirmed SARS cases can have for international public health.

    Two of the nine patients worked at the National Institute of Virology Laboratory of China's Center for Disease Control in Beijing. The laboratory is known to conduct research on SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The laboratory has been closed, potentially exposed personnel are being screened, and possible sources of infection for the two laboratory workers are being investigated.

    Chinese authorities are currently involved in active surveillance activities to identify other possible cases of SARS, including enhanced surveillance for any flu-like illness and pneumonia of unknown etiology. They have also initiated measures to prevent the spread of SARS among travelers, including health screening of travelers at ports of entry. For additional information on the SARS situation in China, see the WHO website.

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