12/29/2003, 00.00
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WHO scientist arrives to help conduct Sars tests

Guangzhou (AsiaNews/agencies) –  Today a World Health Organization (WHO) scientist arrived in Beijing to help conduct further testing on recently suspected Sars cases. The WHO requested that specimens from results be sent overseas for additional international verifications.

The particular case concerns a 32 year-old journalist from Panyu who was isolated at Guangzhou's No. 8 People's Hospital on Dec. 20, suspected of having contracted the virus. Meanwhile, another 42 persons who had come into contact with him have also been quarantined, said Guangdong Center for Disease Control spokesman, Feng Shaoming.   

Health Ministry officials said the patient, identified as Luo, was hospitalized with a high fever and pneumonia in his right lung. Presently Luo is listed in stable condition, showing no signs of fever over the past 5 days.

According to the China Daily, 32 of the other 42 quarantined patients were medical workers, yet did not show any symptoms of the disease.

Meanwhile Chinese authorities announced that they have increased border surveillance in all territories, where travellers must fill out health statements and subject themselves to thermal scanning. Of the 530,000 persons stopped last Saturday, 44 were declared ill or with fever. Health checks have also been increased at the country's airports and train stations, with suspected travellers being sent to designated state hospitals for quarantine and further testing. To date, no traveller has been reported as having contracted the disease.

Last year, the first Sars outbreak occurred in the southern province of Guangdong, infecting 5,327 persons and provoking 349 deaths in China alone. About 8,000 infections and 800 deaths were recorded in relation to the disease worldwide. (MS)

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