SARS case tests positive in US

SINGAPORE: A US laboratory’s SARS test on a Singaporean man has come back positive, confirming local findings that he had contracted the sometimes fatal pneumonia-like illness, the Health Ministry said yesterday.  

The positive result from samples sent to the Atlanta-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was received by Singapore on Saturday, a ministry official said, giving no further details.  

The samples were sent to the CDC for independent confirmation after the 27-year-old researcher tested positive in two separate local tests but was not classified as a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) case under the World Health Organisation’s definition for the virus.  

Although his result was positive, the man has showed no SARS symptoms, such as lung infection or breathing problems. 

Meanwhile, an expert panel has been formed to check on biological safety measures at all laboratories here, starting with the two where the researcher who caught SARS had worked. 

The review is to ensure that the labs are up to speed in dealing with biological hazards, said acting Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Saturday. 

The panel will start its work today.  

On it are four foreign experts, two each from WHO and the CDC.  

They will join several Singapore experts to make up the panel of less than 10 members. Chairing it is Dr Anthony Della-Porta, an Australian bio-safety expert from the WHO.  

The decision to set up the panel came about after the Singaporean who was researching the mosquito-borne West Nile virus for his doctorate caught SARS, which has killed 33 people here and more than 800 people worldwide. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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