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WHO to assess SARS risk in Singapore labs

New SARS case worked in containment lab that did work on SARS virus

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)

At the request of the Singapore government, World Health Organization (WHO) experts in laboratory safety will visit the country from Australia and Japan this weekend. They will investigate the origin of this week's reported new case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which occurred in a laboratory worker. Experts from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have also been invited.

The patient, a 27-year-old Chinese Singaporean postdoctoral student studying West Nile virus, had been working in laboratories at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and at the Singapore Environmental Health Institute (EHI), a division of the National Environment Agency. The case seems isolated, although 25 contacts are in quarantine for two incubation periods, which will end on September 22.

The student had no contact with other known SARS cases, but John Mackenzie, professor of microbiology at the University of Queensland, now seconded to WHO in Geneva for 5 months...

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