Sun, May 11, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DOH denies presence of SARS in complex's water

PIPE DREAMS Reports of contaminated water in a residential area sealed off on Friday were unfounded and angered SARS experts, department officials said

CNA , TAIPEI

There is no evidence that the virus thought to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was in the water supply of a residential complex sealed on Friday after a suspicious death, the Department of Health (DOH) said in a statement yesterday.

The statement quoted Lee Ming-liang (李明亮), the chief of a government panel set up to fight SARS, as saying that he is angry with newspapers that reported that the water supply to the Huachang housing estate in Wanhua district, Taipei City, was polluted with the SARS virus.

The statement said only the DOH's Center for Disease Control and National Taiwan University Hospital have the facilities and skill to detect the SARS virus, but neither of them have said water supplies to the Huachang residential complex was contaminated.

The Environmental Protection Administration under the Executive Yuan took water samples from Huachang on Friday to test for E. coli, but, Lee was quoted as asking, if the report was not ready before yesterday afternoon, how could the newspapers think that the water was contaminated?

According to newly enacted legislation crafted to fight SARS, the media is required to correct any of its false SARS-related stories when asked to do so by health authorities.

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