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Two SARS cases confirmed in China


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Only a handful of SARS cases have been reported in China since the epidemic was declared over last year.

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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- The Chinese Health Ministry has reported two confirmed cases of SARS, one in the eastern province of Anhui and the other in the capital, Beijing, a spokesman for the ministry said.

The ministry spokesman also said that the mother of the confirmed case in Anhui died on April 19 and may have had SARS.

Health officials are investigating that and another suspected case in Beijing, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said 171 people who have had close contact with the confirmed case in Beijing have been quarantined, and another 88 people have been quarantined in Anhui.

The latest cases are a setback to authorities who have been working to try and avoid another SARS outbreak.

A report from the state-run Xinhua news agency on Thursday said a 20-year-old female nurse fell ill with SARS symptoms on April 5 and was admitted to hospital two days later.

The woman had a cold, fever and a cough. Five others have been isolated for observation, the report said.

SARS first emerged in southern China late 2002 and spread throughout the world, infecting around 8,000 people and killing over 770.

Before this week, only four cases have been reported in China since last July, all in the southern Guangdong province. All four patients recovered.

Two other scientists researching the mysterious disease in Taiwan and Singapore also contracted the disease. They also recovered and no other infections were reported.

The six cases had been the only confirmed infections since the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over last year.

Beijing was one of the cities hardest hit by the SARS outbreak that killed 349 people on the Chinese mainland.


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