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SARS Update—May 19, 2004

Español: Situación actual del SRAS

During April 22-29, the Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a total of nine cases of SARS in China ; seven of the patients were from Beijing , and two were from Anhui Province , located in east-central China . One of the patients died.

Two of the nine patients were graduate students who worked at the China ’s National Institute of Virology Laboratory (NIVL) in Beijing , which is known to conduct research on SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The laboratory was closed on April 23, potentially exposed personnel are being monitored for signs of illness, and possible sources of infection for the two laboratory workers are being investigated.

Of the seven other SARS cases, two were directly linked to close personal contact with one of the graduate students who worked at NIVL; these two cases were in the graduate student’s mother (who died) and in a nurse who provided care to the graduate student. The remaining five cases were linked to close contact with the nurse.

No further cases of SARS in China or anywhere else in the world have been reported since April 29. Chinese authorities have carried out active surveillance activities to identify other possible cases of SARS, including enhanced surveillance for any flu-like illness and pneumonia of unknown etiology. They also initiated measures to prevent the spread of SARS among travelers, including health screening of travelers at ports of exit/entry.

On May 18, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on its website that the outbreak in China appears to have been contained, but that biosafety concerns remain and further investigation is under way. WHO and Chinese health officials are still in the process of determining precisely what caused the outbreak.

CDC is in close communication with WHO and is working with its public health partners to reinforce the need for strict adherence to applicable biosafety precautions to reduce the risk of laboratory-related exposures to SARS-CoV.