The Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday two more deaths from severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, bringing the country's death toll from the disease to three.
The two fatalities both came from Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital. One was a 29-year-old Indonesian woman who died yesterday, according to Chi Hsueh-yun (紀雪雲), spokesman for the DOH.
The other case was a 47-year-old male nurse at the hospital, who died on Tuesday. The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) SARS task force determined the man died of the disease yesterday, Chi said.
The three deaths will be reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), the department said.
Meanwhile, the department reported that probable SARS cases had reached 78 as of yesterday afternoon, 12 more than the previous day.
Eight out of the 12 cases came from Jen Chi Hospital, while the other four all had contact histories with patients or health workers from the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital. Both hospitals have been sealed off because of mass infections of SARS.
The DOH was still tracing the travel or contact histories of the eight cases from Jen Chi Hospital. The four probable cases from Hoping have been admitted to Taipei's Wanfang Hospital.
Hoping Hospital currently has 31 probable SARS cases.
"These cases included 10 patients, seven patient's relatives, 13 health workers and one relative of a health worker," Chi reported.
According to the CDC, 25 out of the 78 probable SARS cases have recovered.
Reported SARS cases nationwide reached 489 as of yesterday afternoon, although 100 of them have been ruled out as SARS.
A mass SARS infection was also reported among foreign workers in a food factory in Taichung. How-ever, the CDC's task force has ruled out the factory's workers as SARS cases yesterday.
"The CDC still put the foreign workers under domestic quarantine because it has discovered influenza B virus in their samples. The food factory can resume operation now," Chi said.
The DOH asked the factory to continue to closely monitor its workers' health.
The CDC's SARS task force yesterday also decided it was unnecessary to close down swimming pools to prevent the spread of SARS.
It suggested, however, that local health departments inspect their local swimming pools' water quality every two weeks. The task force also asked staff at the pools to check all swimmers' temperatures before allowing them to enter the pools.
Anyone with a body temperature higher than 38?C should not be allowed to enter the water, the task force suggested. Swimmers are advised not to swim if anyone in their family has SARS-like symptoms such as fever and coughing.
The task force also ordered swimming-pool managers to measure the amount of chlorine in the water every two hours and publish the results in places such as noticeboards for swimmers' information.
All changing rooms and showers at swimming pools should be disinfected at least once a week and facilities for swimmers to deposit their clothing need to be disinfected on a daily basis, the task force said.
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