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Philippine woman SARS free

From Producer Judith Torres

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MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- A Philippine woman who has been under isolation in a Manila hospital on suspicion of having SARS does not have the respiratory virus, according to Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit.

After several tests, "we are declaring her a case of bacterial pneumonia, not a SARS case," Dayrit said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tuesday, a World Health Organization official said a SARS diagnosis was unlikely.

The 42-year-old woman was under isolation at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila, but is no longer.

She was hospitalized on New Year's day at a provincial hospital, suffering from a moderate to high grade fever, was having difficulty breathing and had a cough -- classic symptoms of SARS, but also of other respiratory ailments -- before being transferred to Manila.

She first exhibited symptoms December 24, four days after arriving from Hong Kong -- an area flagged by health officials as a possible reemergence area for the virus.

The woman's family -- a husband and three children -- were also under isolation, but have been removed from their quarantine.

Her husband was diagnosed with an acute upper respiratory infection. The woman's children never exhibited any symptoms.

Also under a 10-day isolation were 34 employees of the provincial hospital, who came in contact with the woman.

Unlike influenza, SARS has no known treatment and little is still known of its origins other than it sprang up in China's 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 three other confirmed cases of SARS since the WHO declared the epidemic over earlier this year.

One case was confirmed in Guangdong Monday. Another case was in Singapore in September and the other in Taiwan in November, both involving researchers working with the virus.

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