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WHO Warns of Pneumonia-Like Illness

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posted on Mar, 15 2003 @ 08:04 PM
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apnews.excite.com...


WHO Warns of Pneumonia-Like Illness


Mar 15, 7:10 PM (ET)

By CINDY A. ROBERTS

The World Health Organization warned Saturday that a contagious and deadly pneumonia-like illness of unknown cause is fast becoming a worldwide health threat.

In a rare "emergency travel advisory," the health agency said it has received more than 150 reports of what it called "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome" in the past week alone, mostly in southeast Asia. At least three people have died - an American businessman and two people who arrived in Canada recently from Hong Kong.

"Health officials around the world are taking this situation very seriously," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Saturday.

The department was "applying a full-court press to learn more about this outbreak and how it might impact on the United States," Thompson said.

While no formal travel restrictions are in place, U.S. health officials said travelers may wish to postpone nonessential trips to countries at risk. Health officials are preparing to issue an alert for passengers returning from countries where SARS has been reported.

The growing list of countries reporting cases of the illness include China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Most cases involve medical workers.

No cases have been identified in the United States, health officials said. But a doctor believed to be infected was taken off a New York-to-Singapore flight in Germany on Saturday and quarantined.




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