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Killer Virus (SARS) Identified
ProMed ^ | 03-18-03

Posted on 03/18/2003 4:19:36 PM PST by Mother Abigail

Killer virus identified

A team from the Prince of Wales Hospital and Chinese University of Hong Kong have identified the virus that has caused the recent outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome worldwide, confirming that the current anti-viral treatment applied to patients has been the right choice. Identifying the virus as a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, Professor John Tam of the department of microbiology of the Chinese University said it was detected by electron microscopy. The finding, announced late last night, was further confirmed by a molecular technique that revealed the nucleic acid sequence of the virus.

Asked if the virus was curable, Tam reiterated that the finding last night had indicated that the current treatment applied to patients suffering from the syndrome, more commonly known as atypical pneumonia, had been the right choice. But he added that they still needed to monitor individual patients' reactions before they could conclude that the virus was curable.

Lo Wing-lok, Medical Association president and legislator, said the Paramyxoviridae family incorporated different viruses that could affect humans and, as such, further studies were needed to establish whether it was a new virus. Earlier it was revealed that at least 6 patients were responsible for spreading the pneumonia in Hong Kong. Health chief Yeoh Eng-kiong also said that a mainland professor who died in [Hong Kong] SAR on 4 Mar 2003 was a victim of the atypical pneumonia.

The new information from officials indicated the disease had been more widespread in the SAR than originally believed. Yeoh said the pneumonia and suspected cases had now been isolated into 6 "clusters". Yeoh again stressed the government was not hiding anything. He insisted there was no sign of an outbreak at the community level.

[This is the second identification of a paramyovirus-like organism from a patient with SARS (see ProMED-mail posting Severe acute respiratory syndrome - worldwide (06) 20030318.0677). The first identification was made by investigators in Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg from specimens taken from a physician from Singapore who had treated some of the earlier cases seen in Singapore and was admitted to hospital in Frankfurt, Germany en route back to Singapore over the weekend. As mentioned in our earlier posting, it is important to confirm these findings and to identify a similar agent from other cases of SARS before it can be concluded that this agent is the cause of SARS.

That being said, this second identification of a paramxovirus-like organism from patients with SARS offers hope that the etiology of this outbreak may be identified soon. - Mod.MPP]


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: medvirus; paramyxoviridae; paramyxovirus; sars
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1 posted on 03/18/2003 4:19:36 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: All
But he added that they still needed to monitor individual patients' reactions before they could conclude that the virus was curable.
2 posted on 03/18/2003 4:23:59 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: per loin; vetvetdoug; gas_dr; Judith Anne; All
The new information from officials indicated the disease had been more widespread in the SAR than originally believed. Yeoh said the pneumonia and suspected cases had now been isolated into 6 "clusters".

Yeoh again stressed the government was not hiding anything.


He insisted there was no sign of an outbreak at the community level.
3 posted on 03/18/2003 4:26:49 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
BUMP
4 posted on 03/18/2003 4:32:20 PM PST by CathyRyan
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To: Mother Abigail
Yeoh again stressed the government was not hiding anything. He insisted there was no sign of an outbreak at the community level.

Anybody else reminded of Death in Venice?

5 posted on 03/18/2003 4:34:15 PM PST by aristeides
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To: aristeides
There are reports that this is not the case.

All the travelers that come back from Asia infected - how??

There must be a large reservoir of virus in the general population in order to facilitate so many transmissions.

Seems to me...
6 posted on 03/18/2003 4:38:57 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: aristeides
Mystery flu leaves 21 in isolation

March 19, 2003

UP to 21 people have now been isolated by Australian health authorities for treatment of symptoms similar to those of the mystery pneumonia now spreading from Asia
7 posted on 03/18/2003 4:42:39 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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bookmark
8 posted on 03/18/2003 4:43:00 PM PST by texasbluebell
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To: Mother Abigail
That's fast. When was the first case noted in Australia? It was one or two days ago, wasn't it?
9 posted on 03/18/2003 4:43:52 PM PST by aristeides
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To: Mother Abigail; aristeides
There must be a large reservoir of virus in the general population in order to facilitate so many transmissions.

One would think so, no? Or perhaps there is a specific environment the virus thrives in - say air plane airconditioners? In a way similar to Legionaire's?

Just a guess, based on so many stories involving recent air flights.

10 posted on 03/18/2003 4:44:03 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
But I don't think there's been one confirmed case yet of transmission from one person to another on an aircraft.
11 posted on 03/18/2003 4:45:15 PM PST by aristeides
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To: Mother Abigail
I'm going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that most Freepers aren't going to find this story by searching with the keyword Paramyxoviridae.
12 posted on 03/18/2003 4:47:45 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Mother Abigail
Identifying the virus as a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, Professor John Tam of the department of microbiology of the Chinese University said it was detected by electron microscopy.

A non-scientific question:   Did they ever indicate from where this bug comes?   It's in the "Para...family", does that equate to naturally occurring, self-mutated?
13 posted on 03/18/2003 4:50:14 PM PST by GirlShortstop
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To: Dog Gone
Hell I can't even spell it...

Thank you
14 posted on 03/18/2003 4:51:53 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: GirlShortstop
Not indicated, as of today.
15 posted on 03/18/2003 4:52:27 PM PST by Judith Anne (Yes, I CAN walk and chew gum. But...being blonde...)
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To: Dog Gone
I'm going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that most Freepers aren't going to find this story by searching with the keyword Paramyxoviridae.

LOL

16 posted on 03/18/2003 4:54:12 PM PST by realpatriot71 (legalize freedom!)
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To: aristeides
You may view the entire history of this outbreak by starting

here
17 posted on 03/18/2003 4:55:12 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: GirlShortstop
A non-scientific question: Did they ever indicate from where this bug comes? It's in the "Para...family", does that equate to naturally occurring, self-mutated?

It's a fancy way of saying "flu" - it's naturally occuring

18 posted on 03/18/2003 4:55:13 PM PST by realpatriot71 (legalize freedom!)
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To: Mother Abigail
Thanks for the info.

"But he added that they still needed to monitor individual patients' reactions before they could conclude that the virus was curable."

Looks like it may hit some harder than others, huh?

19 posted on 03/18/2003 4:55:55 PM PST by blam
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To: Shermy
It seems that the geographical nexus is more telling (in terms of infections) than the act of flying..

20 posted on 03/18/2003 4:59:40 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: GirlShortstop
This new virus is naturally occurring.

We have had some recent experience with this subfamily of virus.

Hendra and Nipah are recent culprits in small outbreaks.

They are so new that they have been given their own genus (Henipavirus).

Hendra and Nipah are both zoonotic meaning they can transmit from animals to man - horses, pigs, bats etc. - Remember this is all very new stuff.

And it might well be that a mutant of the Paramyxoviridae family has broken out in South China spread to Hong Kong and is doing a bit of traveling..

Here is the correct classification of these bugs (as it stands now) Henipavirus becomes the fourth genus within the Paramyxovirinae subfamily of the Paramyxoviridae family. The other genera within the subfamily are Rubulavirus, Morbillivirus and Respirovirus.

Morbillivirus is measles

Rubulavirus is mumps
21 posted on 03/18/2003 5:10:11 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
It may just be me but I got the feeling they have been trying to pin this whole situation on the American that died in Hong Kong.
22 posted on 03/18/2003 5:12:37 PM PST by CathyRyan
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To: CathyRyan
I didn't see it that way, Cathy, he's just the index case, that's all, and that's why he is referenced a lot. I thought it might be to draw attention AWAY from the likely Chinese origin...
23 posted on 03/18/2003 5:15:45 PM PST by Judith Anne (Yes, I CAN walk and chew gum. But...being blonde...)
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To: Mother Abigail
Many thanks for the info.
24 posted on 03/18/2003 5:17:43 PM PST by Celtjew Libertarian (No more will we pretend that our desire/For liberty is number-cold and has no fire.)
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To: CathyRyan
Sorry, Cathy and MA, I didn't mean to interrupt...
25 posted on 03/18/2003 5:17:45 PM PST by Judith Anne (Yes, I CAN walk and chew gum. But...being blonde...)
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To: blam
Could be,

If it is a new strain, then only clinical experience will tell us if it is responding. Or what course of treatment might be best.

As of now, it appears that we are using isolation and nursing barriers to ensure the safety of staff.
26 posted on 03/18/2003 5:17:57 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
This new virus is naturally occurring.

Thank you M.A.   You did a great job outlining the virus; was sort of like a walk down bio class memory lane!  Obliged.  FReegards.
27 posted on 03/18/2003 5:18:31 PM PST by GirlShortstop
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
You are quite welcome
28 posted on 03/18/2003 5:19:14 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
bump
29 posted on 03/18/2003 5:19:51 PM PST by tje
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To: Judith Anne
You are right. :)
30 posted on 03/18/2003 5:21:49 PM PST by CathyRyan
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To: Mother Abigail
> Yeoh again stressed the government was not hiding anything.

They have a saying in the UK:
Never believe a rumor until it's officially denied.

Anyhow, do we have confirmation of the identification from
any other sources yet?
31 posted on 03/18/2003 5:25:25 PM PST by Boundless
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To: aristeides
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd. each have one employee with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the South China Morning Post said, citing the wife of one of the sick employees.

Rob Saunders, a Cathay Pacific flight engineer and a father of two, is the first victim of the outbreak to be publicly identified, the newspaper said. His children have been temporarily withdrawn from school as a precaution and are healthy, it said.

Not good
32 posted on 03/18/2003 5:28:57 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Boundless; per loin
Waiting on per loin, he has been all over the bogus numbers.

They are admitting to 6 clusters, and > 120 cases
33 posted on 03/18/2003 5:33:40 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: CathyRyan
Sigh!! When the "Air Carriers" Agreed to accept Representatives of our Dominant Culture!
34 posted on 03/18/2003 5:39:16 PM PST by Doc On The Bay
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To: Doc On The Bay
You have lost me?
35 posted on 03/18/2003 5:41:35 PM PST by CathyRyan
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To: tje
We're sitting on nine,' CDC says.

TUESDAY, March 18

(HealthScoutNews) -- Health officials have narrowed to nine the number of people in the United States who might have contracted a mysterious and deadly global respiratory illness.

"Nine represents the suspect cases," Von Roebuck, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told HealthScout News Tuesday. "We're sitting on nine. That may change based on evaluation and looking at cases."


Meanwhile, housekeeping crews at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York City, site of an infectious disease conference attended by the Singapore doctor, have been reminded to use gloves when cleaning rooms and stripping beds.
The doctor left New York City on Friday to fly home to Singapore and was quarantined when he got to Frankfurt, according to news reports.

The general manager of the hotel said she did not feel there were any health dangers, even as the order for gloves was issued.
36 posted on 03/18/2003 5:44:32 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
Those broad-spectrum anti-biotics and anti-virals can be just as brutal on the system as the disease itself. Still, it's nice to have an option.
37 posted on 03/18/2003 5:46:07 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Petronski
FIRST US CASE????

ALBUQUERQUE

New Mexico, U.S.A.

March 18, 2003

New Mexico's deputy state epidemiologist says it's "likely" that a patient at Albuquerque's Presbyterian Hospital has Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The syndrome, called SARS, is a deadly mystery illness suspected to be a severe form of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia. It has spread to more than 300 patients in Asia, Europe and Canada.

Ron Voorhees, the deputy state epidemiologist, said the Presbyterian patient traveled to Hong Kong before coming down with symptoms.

"My feeling is this is fairly likely (to be a case of SARS) because the patient was in one of those areas," Voorhees said.

"We've sent samples to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and we're trying to bring in people to look into it as quickly as we can."
38 posted on 03/18/2003 5:50:48 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
First OFFICIAL US case. There are concerns about some people in Chicago, and we might not know what else is in the pipeline.

As for me, Toronto is closer than Albuquerque anyway.

39 posted on 03/18/2003 5:53:04 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Petronski
Hope some of those options are effective.

It is worrisome that we are not getting "patient is improving" updates from any of the hospitals.

Most info is of new cases
40 posted on 03/18/2003 5:54:33 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
There was an epidemic in some Chinese city for at least three months. The Chinese didn't mention it to any international health organization, however. So no one noticed it until it came to Hanoi and to Hong Kong. Thanks to air travel, it's now in a half dozen countries.

It's not bioterror, just a new version of an old bug...
41 posted on 03/18/2003 5:55:17 PM PST by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: Petronski
Good point,

With the traffic on the Left coast to and from Asia, we might expect a few clusters to start popping up
42 posted on 03/18/2003 5:56:51 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: LadyDoc
Agreed

As to the Guangzhou outbreak, ProMed was all over it like a cheap suit, starting with:

A ProMED-mail post

International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 10 Feb 2003

This morning I received this e-mail and then searched your archives and found nothing that pertained to it. Does anyone know anything about this problem?

"Have you heard of an epidemic in Guangzhou? An acquaintance of mine from a teacher's chat room lives there and reports that the hospitals there have been closed and people are dying."
--

Stephen O. Cunnion, MD, PhD, MPH
International Consultants in Health, Inc Member ASTM&H, ISTM

43 posted on 03/18/2003 6:04:30 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
Hospitals closed, people dying--that sounds bigger than 305 cases with 5 dead....thanks.
44 posted on 03/18/2003 6:13:13 PM PST by Judith Anne (Yes, I CAN walk and chew gum. But...being blonde...)
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To: LadyDoc
NIPAH VIRUS FACTSHEET

Overview: Nipah virus is a newly recognized zoonotic virus. The virus was 'discovered' in 1999. It has caused disease in animals and in humans, through contact with infectious animals. The virus is named after the location where it was first detected in Malaysia.

Nipah is closely related to another newly recognized zoonotic virus (1994), called Hendra virus, named after the town where it first appeared in Australia. Both Nipah and Hendra are members of the virus family Paramyxoviridae. Although members of this group of viruses have only caused a few focal outbreaks, the biologic property of these viruses to infect a wide range of hosts and to produce a disease causing significant mortality in humans has made this emerging viral infection a public heath concern.

Natural Host: It is currently believed that certain species of fruit bats are the natural hosts of both Nipah and Hendra viruses.

They are distributed across an area encompassing northern, eastern and south-eastern areas of Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and some of the Pacific Islands. The bats appear to be susceptible to infection with these viruses, but do not themselves become ill. It is not known how the virus is transmitted from bats to animals.

Transmission: The mode of transmission from animal to animal, and from animal to human is uncertain, but appears to require close contact with contaminated tissue or body fluids from infected animals. Nipah antibodies have been detected in pigs, other domestic and wild animals. The role of species other than pigs in transmitting infection to other animals has not yet been determined.

It is unlikely that Nipah virus is easily transmitted to man, although previous outbreak reports suggest that Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans more readily than Hendra virus. Despite frequent contact between fruit bats and humans there is no serological evidence of human infection among bat carers. Pigs were the apparent source of infection among most human cases in the Malaysian outbreak of Nipah, but other sources, such as infected dogs and cats, cannot be excluded. Human-to-human transmission of Nipah virus has not been reported.

Clinical features: The incubation period is between 4 and 18 days.

In many cases the infection is mild or inapparent (sub-clinical). In symptomatic cases, the onset is usually with "influenza-like" symptoms, with high fever and muscle pains (myalgia). The disease may progress to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) with drowsiness, disorientation, convulsions and coma. Fifty percent of clinically apparent cases die.

Treatment: No drug therapies have yet been proven to be effective in treating Nipah infection.

Treatment relies on providing intensive supportive care. There is some evidence that early treatment with the antiviral drug, ribavirin, can reduce both the duration of feverish illness and the severity of disease. However, the efficacy of this treatment in curing disease or improving survival is still uncertain.

Protection of Health Care Professionals: The risk of transmission of Nipah virus from sick animals to humans is thought to be low, and transmission from person-to-person has not yet been documented, even in the context of a large outbreak. Therefore, the risk of transmission of Nipah virus to health care workers is thought to be low. However, transmission without percutaneous exposure (through a break in the skin barrier) is theoretically possible, as respiratory secretions contain the virus. This is why it has been categorized as a biohazardous agent that should be managed in a high-level biosecurity laboratory. It is recommended that close contact with body fluids and infected tissues be avoided if Nipah infection is suspected.
Outbreaks of Nipah and Hendra Viruses:

From September 1998 - April 1999, there was a large outbreak of encephalitis in Malaysia. During the investigation of this outbreak, Nipah virus, a previously unrecognized virus, was identified as the causal agent. A total of 265 people were infected, of whom 105 died. Ninety-three percent of cases had occupational exposure to pigs. An associated outbreak among abattoir workers in Singapore during March 1999 led to 11 cases, with 1 death. These workers had been handling pigs that had been imported from the outbreak areas in Malaysia.
There have been 3 recognized outbreaks of Hendra virus in Australia in 1994, 1995 and1999. Three human cases, leading to 2 deaths were recorded in the 1994 and 1995 outbreaks. In 1995 a horse was infected, with associated human cases. The precise mode of virus transmission to the three Australian patients is not fully understood. All 3 individuals appear to have acquired their infection as a result of close contact with horses which were ill and later died.
45 posted on 03/18/2003 6:23:55 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail
Do we know who this person is & when he arrived in Albuquerque?
46 posted on 03/18/2003 6:27:44 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Mother Abigail
gallows humor...I have family that are planning to vist from another state next month...Do you think I need to clean the house or will we be under quarantine by then?
47 posted on 03/18/2003 6:32:15 PM PST by CathyRyan
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To: Ditter
I will try to get that information for you
48 posted on 03/18/2003 6:40:21 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: CathyRyan
The seeker came to the master and asked: "What must I do to be enlightened teacher?"

The master responded: "Have you eaten you supper?"

The seeker nodded: "Yes"

And the good master said: "Go do the dishes"

The seeker obediently went and did the dishes, whereupon he became enlightened....
49 posted on 03/18/2003 6:48:42 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Ditter
My feeling is this is fairly likely (to be a case of SARS) because the patient was in one of those areas," Voorhees said.

"We've sent samples to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and we're trying to bring in people to look into it as quickly as we can."

No test to detect infection exists for SARS because the syndrome is very new. The only way to confirm it at this point is to rule out other possible diseases, Voorhees said.

The patient is in "fair" condition and in respiratory isolation. All other information about the patient, including his identify, is confidential, said Ed Benge, vice president of medical staff affairs at Presbyterian.

Health officials are conferring with the CDC to decide whether to release the patient's flight information.
50 posted on 03/18/2003 6:52:44 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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