Many Beijing SARS cases can't be traced back

WHA told 60 to 80% of Beijing SARS cases can't be traced back and existing PCR diagnostic test of limited use

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)
May 19, 2003

GENEVA—The World Health Assembly (WHA) has been told that 60 to 80% of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases in Beijing, diagnosed by the symptomatic case definition of the disease, can't be traced back to a known SARS case, and other viruses could be involved. So said David Heymann, executive director of Communicable Diseases for the World Health Organization (WHO), speaking in Geneva yesterday (May 19).

"Our case definition has been highly specific," said Heymann. "Almost every case of SARS in the world today can be traced back to a previous case of SARS that fits the definition. But we understand there are other diseases that fit the case definition, and that's not surprising. What's important now is to figure out how many of those diseases that were called SARS might not have been SARS."

Hong Kong had been doing a "tremendous job" in looking at the blood of...

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