Archive for Saturday, June 14, 2003

Canadian SARS efforts downgraded

U.S. officials investigate N. Carolina incidents

June 14, 2003


— The World Health Organization on Friday downgraded its assessment of SARS-prevention efforts in Canada after a U.S. visitor to Toronto returned home with the virus. But the U.N. agency said it had no plans to issue another travel advisory for the city.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control diagnosed the American with SARS on Monday and placed him under quarantine with his family near Raleigh, N.C. Simpson said the U.N. health agency was concerned because nobody had previously been aware that the geriatric facility in question was linked to the SARS outbreak.

In North Carolina, state officials Friday said two men who worked in the same building as the SARS patient came down with pneumonia, and one of them died Friday of heart failure and pneumonia. Both men tested negative for SARS and follow-up testing is being done, said state health director Leah Devlin.

The three men, who have not been identified, worked in the same building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

WHO officials also dropped some parts of China from its list of places under the SARS travel warning but retained its advice that people avoid nonessential travel to Beijing and Taiwan.

Today, Taiwan reported two SARS deaths, breaking a period of 16 successive days without new fatalities. Taiwan also announced one more person had become infected.

Taiwan has the world's third-highest number of SARS cases and fatalities, behind mainland China and Hong Kong.

Taiwan on Friday began investigating whether the island underreported SARS deaths. Authorities have begun examining a large discrepancy between SARS numbers compiled by the Health Department and local governments.

The Health Department says SARS has killed 83 people on the island, but local governments have reported cremating 363 bodies, including suspected and confirmed SARS cases.

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