China pneumonia: Sars ruled out as dozens fall ill in Wuhan

A health worker stands by ready to ask passengers to remove head gear prior to temperature screening on April 27, 2009 at the international airport in Hong Kong
Hong Kong airport is health screening passengers arriving from Wuhan

A mysterious viral pneumonia that has infected dozens in central China is not Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), health chiefs have said.

They also discounted bird flu and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and said investigations were continuing.

A total of 59 cases have been reported in the city of Wuhan, seven of which are considered critical.

The outbreak prompted Singapore and Hong Kong to bring in screening processes for travellers from the city.

An epidemic of the potentially deadly, flu-like Sars virus killed more than 700 people around the world in 2002-03, after originating in China.

A mysterious viral pneumonia that has infected dozens in central China is not Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), health chiefs have said.

They also discounted bird flu and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and said investigations were continuing.

A total of 59 cases have been reported in the city of Wuhan, seven of which are considered critical.

The outbreak prompted Singapore and Hong Kong to bring in screening processes for travellers from the city.

An epidemic of the potentially deadly, flu-like Sars virus killed more than 700 people around the world in 2002-03, after originating in China.

Singapore and Hong Kong have both set up systems to check travellers arriving from Wuhan for possible fever.

Hong Kong has admitted 16 travellers with pneumonia-like symptoms to hospital, the South China Morning Post reported, but none have so far been found to have the unidentified strain. Singapore has had one suspicious case, it added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is aware of the outbreak and is in contact with the Chinese government.

“There are many potential causes of viral pneumonia, many of which are more common than severe acute respiratory syndrome coronovirus,” a spokesman said last week. “WHO is closely monitoring this event and will share more details as we have them.”

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