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China raids wildlife markets

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 29, 2003

BEIJING - Forestry officials in southern China seized pheasants, foxes and other game in raids on wildlife markets under new restrictions meant to control SARS.

The China raids came after a World Health Organization scientist said Tuesday that SARS antibodies found in workers who handled game species at a market in southern China backed the theory that the disease jumped from animals to humans.

The WHO said the emergence of SARS in southern China in November and its spread to more than two dozen countries, infecting more than 8,000 people, has shown the need to update international health regulations.

"Here we have SARS illustrating that a public health threat can come out of nowhere," WHO Director-General Gro Brundtland said at the agency's annual assembly in Geneva. "The international health regulations are outdated and belong to another time and age."

Authorities in Guangdong banned trade in wildlife after suspicions that the virus might have come from animals eaten by Chinese. Traveling animal shows were ordered to cancel performances, and restaurants that specialize in game were ordered to surrender any live animals.

GLOBAL TOLL NOW 744: China's Health Ministry on Wednesday announced four new SARS deaths and four new cases of infection on the mainland. Beijing accounted for three of the fatalities and three of the cases, the ministry said. The fourth death was in the northeastern province of Jilin. SARS has killed at least 325 people on China's mainland, with more than 5,323 infected.

Taiwan reported five new SARS deaths Wednesday, bringing the global toll to 744. There was also one death reported in Hong Kong.

CDC doctor who worked in Taiwan not infected

ATLANTA - Preliminary lab results indicate that a government doctor who became ill in Taiwan while investigating SARS does not have the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

More tests will be conducted to see if doctors can rule out the coronavirus that causes SARS as the source of Dr. Chesley L. Richards' illness, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said Tuesday.

Skinner said Richards is in isolation, but would not say whether he was in a hospital or at his suburban Atlanta home.

"He continues to be doing very well," Skinner said.

Richards, a CDC infection control expert, returned to the United States last week after he developed a fever and cough that indicated the possibility of SARS.

Hong Kong prepares for outbreak this winter

HONG KONG - Hong Kong leader's named a panel of international experts on Wednesday to draft plans in case SARS returns next winter, but said that the panel would not look at any government official's handling of the outbreak here this spring.

Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's chief executive, said the territory's embattled secretary of health, welfare and food, Dr. Yeoh Eng-kiong, would serve as the panel's chairman, and asked that the panel report back to him by September.

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