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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686

Bull World Health Organ vol.82 n.5 Genebra May. 2004 



New SARS scare in China



China has reported two confirmed cases of SARS and six suspected cases since 22 April. Six of these are in Beijing and two, including a fatality, are in the eastern province of Anhui.

Results of investigations to date point to laboratory research at the National Institute of Virology in Beijing as the likely source of the outbreak. The institute has been engaged in research with the SARS coronavirus, including the development of a vaccine. Two of the recently reported cases were conducting research at the laboratory: a 26-year-old female postgraduate student from Anhui Province, and a 31-year-old man.

As of 26 April, almost 1000 contacts of these cases are under medical investigation, including 640 in Beijing and 353 in Anhui. All the cases diagnosed and those under investigation have been linked to chains of transmission involving close personal contact with an identified case.

At the request of the Chinese Ministry of Health, WHO sent the first members of an international team to help investigate the source of the cases on 26 April.