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Toronto removed from SARS list

Taiwan remains the only area on the World Health Organization's SARS list.
Taiwan remains the only area on the World Health Organization's SARS list.

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(CNN) -- The World Health Organization on Wednesday removed Toronto from its list of SARS-infected areas.

The announcement comes more than three months after the first cases were identified in the Canadian city.

Toronto's last probable case was detected and isolated June 12. After 20 days, or twice the incubation period of SARS, WHO considers the chain of human-to-human transmission to be broken.

"This is a great achievement for public health in what we hope is the final phase of the global emergency," said David Heymann, WHO's executive director for communicable diseases, in a statement on the organization's Web site.

"Toronto faced an especially challenging outbreak. As we have learned, SARS is a difficult disease that produces many surprises and setbacks."

The move leaves Taiwan as the only place in the world still the subject of a WHO advisory.

SARS originated in southern China in November and has spread to 30 countries, killing more than 800 people worldwide. There is no vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Toronto had the largest SARS outbreak outside Asia, with nearly 40 deaths and 252 cases.

The city previously had been removed from the WHO list in May, but it returned less than two weeks later when a second outbreak was discovered.

Although there have been no new cases recently, the threat remains in Toronto. More than a dozen patients are hospitalized, and a nurse died Sunday of the virus. (Full story)

WHO has said it expects the world to be SARS-free within weeks but warned the disease could resurface in the winter in China. (Full story)

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