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Taiwan man tests positive for SARS

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Taiwan health authorities say a man working at a military medical research institute has contracted SARS, the island’s first case of the killer respiratory disease in five months.

Taiwan health authorities say a man working at a military medical research institute has contracted SARS, the island’s first case of the killer respiratory disease in five months.The 44-year-old man caught the virus in a laboratory on December 5 while conducting an experiment on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), the disease that ravaged Asia this year causing hundreds of deaths.”The victim is a researcher engaging in a government-funded research project on SARS, who was infected with the virus accidentally during the experiment,” said Department of Health Minister Chen Chien-jen.”Only one person has been infected so far,” he told a press conference. The patient, a lieutenant-colonel working at the Institute of Preventive Medicine of National Defence Medical Centre, developed fever following a December 7-10 trip to Singapore, where he attended a medical seminar.Center for Disease Control director Su Ih-jen says the man tested positive earlier today.Doctors say he is being treated at a SARS-designated hospital and is not suffering from respiratory difficulties.The patient’s wife and two children and those who had contact with him would be observed for 21 days until December 31 to watch for signs of fever, an early symptom of the disease, which claimed 37 lives in Taiwan.Mr Chen says there is no cause for panic, describing the positive test as an isolated case.The case is the first on the island since the World Health Organisation (WHO) on July 5 declared the epidemic had been contained worldwide after announcing Taiwan – the last region on a blacklist – SARS-free.Singapore authorities say they have launched an investigation into the case, stressing the city-state is free of SARS.”We are establishing the facts of the case but there are no suspect (cases) of SARS in Singapore,” a health ministry spokeswoman said.She says authorities are trying to find out who came into contact with the Taiwanese man.Singapore, which suffered 33 fatalities during the worldwide outbreak earlier this year, last reported a SARS case in September.Authorities in Hong Kong have raised the first stage of a three-level SARS alert system following the confirmation of the Taiwan case.The WHO had previously warned Asian nations to take steps against a possible recurrence of the virus, which experts fear could return in cooler winter months across the region.The pneumonia-like disease broke out in China’s southern Guangdong province in November last year and later spread to and caused mass outbreaks in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam.It killed 774 people out of 8,098 cases worldwide, according to WHO’s latest toll.(Source: ABC Health News: December 2003)

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Dates

Posted On: 18 December, 2003
Modified On: 5 December, 2013


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