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SARS ruled out in death cases

By Cai Wenjun (Shanghai Daily)

17:34, March 08, 2013

HEALTH authorities have ruled out SARS, bird flu or a new SARS-like virus in the deaths of two people from the same family at Shanghai No. 5 People's Hospital.

The hospital said three members of the Li family had been admitted between February 14 and 24 for symptoms including a high fever and coughing.

All three, aged 55, 69 and 87, were diagnosed as having pneumonia.

Since they were from the same family, the hospital reported the case to the Minhang District Center for Disease Control and Prevention for investigation. The pneumonia diagnosis was confirmed.

However, microbloggers raised fears that they might have been infected by SARS.

The Shanghai Public Health Center, the city's designated facility for infectious disease diagnosis and treatment, did checks and ruled out the disease.

Officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau said the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the case and it, too, ruled out SARS.

The 55-year-old Li died of severe pneumonia and respiratory failure last week. The 87-year-old suffered multi-organ failure and died on Monday.

The 69-year-old is still in hospital, in isolation and receiving treatment.

Doctors said they were seeing a rising number of patients suffering from pneumonia due to the changing seasons. None of the other patients had any connection with the Li family.

SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is a serious and potentially life-threatening viral infection that mostly affects the lungs. It is caused by a family of viruses known as coronaviruses which can vary in their severity.

In the SARS epidemic in China 10 years ago, Shanghai had eight SARS patients, two of whom died. The Chinese mainland had 5,327 SARS patients during the epidemic, of whom 349 people died.

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