Taiwan researcher tested positive for SARS

Taiwanese officials said Wednesday a medical researcher has tested positive for SARS - the island's first case since it was dropped from a global list of SARS-infected areas in July.

The patient was a 44-year-old man who had been studying SARS at the "National Defense University", according to a news release issued by Taiwan's Center for Disease Control.

"Right now, he's the only one who's been infected,'' Taiwan health chief Chen Chien-jen said at a news conference.

The researcher attended a conference in Singapore on Dec. 7 and developed a fever on Dec. 10 after returning to Taiwan, CDC officials said.

He thought he only had the flu, but on Tuesday went to a Taipei hospital where an X-ray showed he had pneumonia. He was then tested for SARS, and the results were positive, the statement said.

Singapore reported a similar case last September when a Singaporean lab worker caught SARS while researching the illness.

On Wednesday, TVBS cable news showed footage of the Taiwanese researcher being transported to Taipei's Hoping Hospital. He was transported in a special ambulance with medical workers dressed in protective gowns.

During the SARS outbreak earlier this year, Taiwan ranked No. 3 in the world behind the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong for SARS deaths and cases.

The virus began spreading quickly in Taiwan last April when ill-prepared hospitals, including Hoping, failed to properly manage infected patients.

When the virus was contained in July, the island had recorded 346 SARS cases and 37 deaths. The World Health Organization removed Taiwan from its list of SARS-infected areas on July 5.

Source: agencies

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