Mon, May 05, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Ma warns of community transmission risk in Wanhua

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-Jeou (馬英九) yesterday warned of the rising risk of community transmission in Wanhua District after two homeless people with symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) were taken to the hospital on Saturday.

"These two people based their activities around Lungshan Temple. We are now asking people who have been to the temple after April 30 to start home quarantine," Ma said.

"If they develop symptoms such as high fever or coughing, please call 119 to have the police escort them to the hospital. Do not attempt to visit the doctor alone," he said.

Homeless people have become a potential loophole in the community battle against SARS, and the Taipei City Government has admitted the difficulty in tracing and keeping up with all the homeless people in the city.

Meanwhile, two head nurses who have contracted SARS were in critical condition as of press time last night.

A 43-year-old nurse surnamed Weng, who was head of a ward at Jen Chi Hospital, is thought to have contracted the disease while attending to SARS patients in her hospital.

She was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on April 30 and put on a respirator on May 3.

The hospital said her condition was very serious and that her family had been informed of the situation.

A 39-year-old head nurse of a ward at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital surnamed Chang was admitted to Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital and put on an respirator on May 2. Hospital staff, however, said that they were confident she would recover.

Stress also seems to be taking its toll on hospital workers battling the disease outbreak.

Superintendent Wu Kan-wen (吳康文) of Hoping Hospital fell ill on Saturday. Wu was sent to National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) with a mild fever, which quickly subsided. NTUH said that Wu did not seem to be suffering from SARS, but rather from overtiredness.

Deputy Superintendent of Taipei Municipal Jen-Ai Hospital Chu Ta-cheng (璩大成) also came down with a fever on Saturday and was admitted to NTUH.

Chu was also judged to be suffering from fatigue and was discharged to Civil Service Training Center for quarantine.

According to the DOH, as of yesterday afternoon, 116 probable SARS cases had been reported. Eight people have died and 46 have been discharged from hospitals.

A total of 7,779 people have been put under 10-day domestic quarantine, 2,493 of whom have been removed from the list.

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