Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 2 News List

CDC finds no further SARS symptoms

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed that none of the 34 individuals being monitored under the personal-health-check policy had exhibited SARS symptoms.

CDC Deputy Director Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said that two colleagues of SARS patient Chan (), who had flown to the US after sharing a flight with Chan, yesterday returned to Taiwan and were examined at the Tri-Service General Hospital. Both men were in good health.

However, Shih said that four foreigners, three from the US and one from Singapore, who had sat near Chan on a flight from Singapore to Taiwan, had yet to be contacted.

He said that these individuals had left Taiwan for Hong Kong and the US and that representatives from both countries had been notified of the situation.

Shih admitted that Chan, a SARS researcher at the Institute of Preventive Medicine at the National Defense University in Taipei, was wrong to have visited a Hsintien clinic and not report the situation to health officials after coming down with a fever on Dec. 10. But he said that any discussion of disciplinary action was premature.

"We've established a seven-person committee to investigate if Chan actually contracted SARS from handling laboratory equipment while not wearing appropriate protective gear," Shih said.

The results of the investigation would be ready today, he said.

Shih also defended Taiwan's seemingly lax epidemic-prevention policies, compared to Singapore's decision to quarantine a total of 75 individuals who had been in contact with Chan.

"Research from the previous SARS outbreak shows no cases of SARS transmission after contact with a SARS patient in the two days after that person first exhibits fever. Furthermore, there was only one case of transmission from contact three days after a fever occurred," Shih said.

While refraining from making temperature readings mandatory, the CDC has recommended that, given the increased frequency of election campaign rallies, temperature readings should be taken before people participate in large indoor events.

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