WHO: Info. 'freely shared' with China health authorities

The World Health Organization said in Beijing Monday that the organization is having regular daily meetings with the Chinese Health Ministry through its China office and all information about the suspected SARS case in Guangzhou is being freely shared.

"The information on the clinical state of the individual, the laboratory investigation and the public health response is being freely shared," said WHO China office in a press release in Beijing Monday.

"Although the final diagnosis of this case is still awaited, WHO has been strongly assured that all appropriate steps have been taken by health authorities to ensure that any risk to the public health has been minimized," said the office.

On Dec. 26, the Chinese Health Ministry informed the World Health Organization of a suspected case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in a hospital in Guangzhou, capital city of China's southern Guangdong Province.

The WHO China office said it has close cooperation with the Chinese authorities dealing with the suspected SARS case.

"A laboratory expert arrived in Beijing this morning (Dec. 29), and a series of meetings have been arranged with the Ministry of Health and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to review the test results and discuss other technical issues," said the office.

A joint expert team of the Health Ministry and WHO arrived in Guangzhou Monday afternoon to provide additional support to the investigation that is already under way. The WHO China office said the experts will provide technical support in the areas of epidemiological investigation and infection control.

In addition, the office said WHO will provide diagnostic materials including SARS test kits to China.

The Health Ministry said the suspected SARS patient in Guangzhou has had a normal temperature for five days and is now in stable condition. None of the 42 people quarantined after having close contact with the patient have shown symptoms similar to SARS.



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