Hospital diagnoses Finnish patient as
Microbiological tests fail to give 100% confirmation
- A middle-aged woman
suffering from pneumonia symptoms after returning from a trip to Vietnam
is believed to have the dangerous Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or
SARS, which broke out recently in East Asia.
- Finland reported the diagnosis to the epidemic
registry of the World Health Organisation on Wednesday.
- The patient, who had returned from her trip on Saturday, is
recovering from the disease.
- Also on Wednesday two other patients with
flu-like symptoms were under observation as possible SARS sufferers. One
of the cases proved to involve an ordinary respiratory infection, while
the other remained unconfirmed.
- The WHO has registered a total of 219 confirmed or suspected
cases of SARS so far. Four people have died.
- In addition to Finland, suspected SARS cases have
been noted in Sweden, France, and Spain, but had not yet been reported
to the WHO as of Wednesday evening.
- Dr. Petri Ruutu, head physician at the
National Public Health Institute, said at a press conference on
Wednesday that the symptoms of the Finnish woman meet the criteria of
SARS, but added that microbiological studies have not yet confirmed the
- Public health officials are taking the epidemic seriously.
All of those flying on the same plane as the woman who is now
hospitalised have been sent a letter about the case.
- The National Public Health Institute has also
given instructions to the airline Finnair on how to deal with a
passenger who might possibly have been infected by SARS.
- Health care staff in the whole country have also
been informed about the implications of the outbreak.
- Pauli Leinikki, a research professor at
the National Public Health Institute, is hoping for a final diagnosis.
- On Tuesday Leinikki took part in an extraordinary
meeting of the European Sero-Epidemiology Network. The EU
representatives decided against imposing any travel restrictions, noting
that the disease does not seem to be very contagious.
- The situation is to be examined, and the issue
discussed further next week at a meeting of the Network.
- Previously in HS International Edition:
- Suspected case
of mysterious Asian pneumonia in Finland