The Philippines Wednesday announced that a Filipino woman suspected of contracting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is confirmed not a SARS case.
At a press conference, Philippine Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit declared the antibody test of SARS suspect M.D. is negative, adding that "we are declaring her a case of bacterial pneumonia, not a SARS case."
The 42-year-old woman was isolated when she developed a fever after returning home on Dec. 20, 2003, from Hong Kong where she worked as a domestic helper.
"I can confirm that M.D.'s case is not SARS," Dayrit told Xinhua, saying the patient's condition is improving and she has had no fever for two days now.
Likewise, Dayrit said quarantine measures implemented on nearly40 Filipinos who had close contact with M.D. have been lifted in the northern Philippine province of Laguna and all efforts at contact tracing will be discontinued.
However, Dayrit said the health department is in close coordination and the re-classification of M.D. from a SARS suspect case to simply pneumonia will not mean that the authorities will be letting their guard down.
Jean-Marc Olive, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Philippines, said earlier it was highly unlikely the woman had the deadly virus as there is no SARS in China's Hong Kong.
Thousands of Filipino women work in Hong Kong as nurses and domestic helpers. At least seven million overseas Philippine workers prop up the economy by sending money back to their families.