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India reports first case of SARS

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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Joining a growing list of nations, Indian health officials Thursday reported the country's first case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Dr. A.C. Mishra, director of India's National Institute of Virology (NIV), said initial tests confirmed that a 32-year-old marine engineer had contracted the virus after traveling through southeast Asia on his way to the western state of Goa.

"The samples we tested leave no doubt that this is SARS," Mishra said.

More than 3,000 cases of SARS have been reported worldwide with at least 160 deaths from the illness.

Mishra said NIV tests showed an exact match with the genetic signature of the virus.

Still, health officials in Goa are conducting further tests through the National Institute for Communicable Diseases before they officially confirm the results.

Initial media reports said the man had no SARS-like symptoms, but Mishra said the man did exhibit mild fever and respiratory symptoms that tipped off medical officials to conduct the SARS tests.

"The disease has a wide spectrum," Mishra said. "It can be mild or very severe, and in this case the symptoms were of the lower intensity."

The man arrived in India after traveling in Hong Kong and Singapore.

After initially checking into a local hospital, he was referred to a district-level hospital once his SARS-like symptoms became apparent.

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