May 4, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Chinese authorities have upgraded three more suspected SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) cases in China to confirmed status, signaling that all nine cases in the current outbreak have been verified.
The latest confirmed cases are those of the father of a young nurse who had treated an infected laboratory researcher, a hospital roommate of the nurse, and a person who helped take care of the nurse, China's state news agency, Xinhua, reported today. The nurse had treated a postgraduate medical student who acquired the first case in the outbreak after working in a Beijing virology laboratory in March.
The sixth case confirmed in the outbreak was that of another laboratory researcher and was confirmed May 1, according to a Reuters report published that day. Previous reports said the case involved a 31-year-old man who works in the same virology lab, at China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, where the medical student worked.
A Reuters report today said one of the seven SARS patients in Beijing was expected to be released from Ditan Hospital soon and the other six were in stable condition. The other living patient was expected to be released from a hospital in Anhui province soon, the report said. The ninth patient, the mother of the medical student, died Apr 19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it does not consider the outbreak a major public health threat because all the cases have been linked directly or indirectly with the virology lab. Xinhua said a WHO team has interviewed workers at the lab and at a hospital where patients were treated.
An Associated Press report said the WHO team made its second visit to the virology lab today. The report quoted WHO spokesman Roy Wadia as saying it may take weeks to determine how the lab workers became infected.
Apr 30 WHO statement with a summary of the nine SARS cases