The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Thursday that there was no SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in China, despite unverified reports circulating on the Internet.
The Chinese health authorities have said that there is no SARS outbreak within its territory, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said on Thursday.
The Chinese authorities were scheduled to provide information to the CDC regarding the rumors yesterday, he said.
SARS is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that infects the lungs and causes difficulty in breathing. Common antibiotics have proven ineffective against the virus and patients are dependent on clinical treatment to recover.
Many Chinese Internet users have voiced concern over a possible SARS pandemic in a military hospital in Hebei Province, -according to a newspaper.
Although the Chinese government has yet to officially deny the rumor, bloggers alleged that hundreds of patients have been hospitalized in isolation wards and at least one has died from the disease, the newspaper report said.
In the past, the Chinese government covered up news about infectious cases.
There are so far no reports from Hong Kong, which was one of the areas hardest hit by the SARS -pandemic from 2002 to 2003, or the rest of the world.
While customs officials are equipped with sensors to detect passengers running a fever, a typical symptom of SARS, Chou said Taiwan had also established more than 1,000 isolation wards and facilities.
SARS resulted in about 70 deaths in Taiwan a decade ago, including a number of medical staff in charge of patients, Chou said.
The CDC late yesterday said that the Chinese health authorities had confirmed that a reported outbreak of SARS was in fact a case of adenovirus infection. China informed the CDC the suspected outbreak in Hebei Province had been confirmed as adenovirus type 55 infection, Chou said.
However, China did not reveal the scale of the epidemic.
Chou said that adenovirus infection was easy to treat and that the CDC did not need to investigate any further.
Adenovirus type 55 infection was first discovered in China’s Shaanxi Province in 2006. Of 254 high school students treated for the infection, only one died.
There is no record of adenovirus type 55 infection in Taiwan, CDC statistics show.