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Second SARS case revealed in China

Second SARS case revealed in China

作者:班蕻乇  时间:2019-03-03 09:02:01  人气:

By Shaoni Bhattacharya A new case of suspected SARS was reported by Chinese authorities on Thursday, just as the first man confirmed to have the deadly infection this winter left hospital. A 20-year-old waitress is under investigation in China’s southern Guangdong province after she was hospitalised with SARS-like symptoms on 31 December. The woman fell ill with fever on 26 December and has been in a stable condition for the last seven days. None of the 100 people known to have had contact with the woman have shown abnormal symptoms so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes there is no epidemiological link between this case and the first case. In both instances, the source from which the deadly virus re-surfaced remains a mystery. A WHO team of six experts arrived in Guangdong on Thursday to investigate the first confirmed SARS case with China’s Ministry of Health. This will now examine the second case as well, spokeswoman Maria Cheng told New Scientist. Cheng says tests for SARS have been performed on samples from the woman: “But there is some clinical evidence that people at the WHO think is inconsistent with SARS.” The woman has not had a fever for the past week, the time when SARS usually peaks. The deadly disease first emerged in Guangdong in November, 2002. By the time the worldwide epidemic was declared over in July 2003, SARS had caused almost 800 deaths and over 8000 infections in 27 countries. “The emergence of the latest suspected case should not be cause for alarm, given the heightened state of alert in China’s surveillance system,” said Bob Dietz, a WHO spokesman told AFP. “We seem to be catching cases, so it seems the surveillance system is working.” The WHO team are to try to find the source of the new infections. The sick waitress reportedly worked at a restaurant and may have served palm civets to customers. These raccoon-like animals and other exotic mammals are eaten as delicacies in Guangdong and have been implicated as possible source of infection for humans. Following the confirmation of the first SARS case on Monday, the Chinese authorities began a mass civet cull and quarantined civet farms. However, the infected man was “near-vegetarian” says Cheng, eating only fish, eggs and vegetables, and had no known contact with civets. “It’s encouraging they are acknowledging wildlife as a possible reservoir for SARS, but SARS coronavirus has been identified in other animals,” Cheng points out. She adds that if civets really do have a role in the origins of SARS, killing them may in fact destroy evidence. There is circumstantial evidence that rats may have been involved in the first case, says Cheng. Some reports suggest the man threw a rodent out of his window before he fell ill. Cheng says Chinese authorities captured 37 rats in traps around the man’s apartment block, but PCR tests were all negative for SARS coronavirus. Finding the ultimate natural reservoir of SARS may be a long task, she says,