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Filipino a suspected SARS case

From Producer Judith Torres

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MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- A Philippine woman has been isolated in a Manila hospital as a suspected SARS case, Dr. Yolanda Oliveros, spokeswoman for the Department of Health announced.

Philippine health officials are awaiting the results of lab tests.

According to Oliveros, the 42-year-old woman returned to the Philippines December 20 from Hong Kong where she is employed as a domestic worker. She was brought to a provincial hospital January 1 and was then transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila, charged with tracking the nation's SARS cases.

According to Dr. Ning Ville, the Philippine SARS spokeswoman, when the woman was hospitalized on New Year's day she was suffering from a moderate to high grade fever, was having difficulty breathing and had a cough -- classic symptoms of SARS.

Oliveros said the woman has been diagnosed with atypical pneumonia and is under isolation.

The woman's family has been placed under isolation.

Her husband has a fever, cough and an acute upper respiratory infection, Ville said. The woman's two children have not shown any symptoms.

The woman's contacts since late December are being traced in the Philippines and Hong Kong, health officials said, and if her case shifts from a suspected SARS case to a probable case, they will be isolated as well.

Unlike influenza, SARS has no known treatment and little is still known of its origins other than it sprang up in Guangdong province in November last year.

SARS killed 774 people worldwide and sickened nearly 8,100 before subsiding in June.

The flu-like illness claimed 349 lives on China's mainland and more than 5,000 were stricken.

There have been two other confirmed cases of SARS since the WHO declared the epidemic over earlier this year.

One was in Singapore in September and the other in Taiwan in November, both involving researchers working with the virus.

In another possible SARS case, the World Health Organization as well as Chinese health officials are conducting a joint investigation into the case of a 32 year old television producer from Guangdong, who developed a fever on December 16, and was hospitalized four days later with pneumonia.

If confirmed, It would be China's first suspected SARS case since July.



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