Margaret Chan, Health Director of Hong Kong, said today that the source of the current international outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) seems to be a doctor from Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, the southernmost region of China, which saw 300 cases of a mystery pneumonia between November 2002 and February 2003. Chan's comments are reported in the Hong Kong Standard.

China only recently agreed to cooperate with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control to share data and samples from that earlier outbreak.

The doctor stayed on February 21 with six other first ("index") cases of the current outbreak on the same floor of the Metropole Hotel in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. He died later in hospital.

The importance of this observation is to link the two outbreaks, so data can be pooled. For example China earlier claimed that the Guangdong disease...

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