WHO experts visit Guangdong

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chinese Health Ministry (MOH) dispatched another joint team of experts to south China's Guangdong Province Thursday to assist the local health authorities in their probe for the origin of the SARS virus.

Five of the 10-member joint team arrived in this capital of Guangdong Thursday night, including two WHO epidemiologists, WHO China office spokesman Roy Wadia, an MOH official and an interpreter.

Robert Breiman, who is heading the WHO team, told Xinhua at the Guangzhou airport that the joint mission will look into the recent occurrence of the diagnosed SARS case in Guangdong, and their major concerns will center on the potential human, animal and environmental sources of the SARS infection.

Sources at the Guangdong provincial health bureau told Xinhua that three Chinese experts and one WHO expert of the joint team were already in Guangdong, and another WHO environmental expert from Canada will join the team Friday. The team is scheduled to stay in Guangdong for one week.

The WHO and the Health Ministry dispatched a joint team of experts to Guangdong Dec. 29, 2003, two days after the province reported a suspected SARS case. The team stayed in Guangdong for six days, providing technical support to local health institutionsin terms of contact tracing and hospital infection control.

The patient was discharged from hospital upon recovery Thursday,and all the people who had had contact with him have been removed from the medical observation list.

On Thursday, Guangdong reported another suspected SARS case, a 20-year-old restaurant waitress.

Source: Xinhua

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