Date :3/23/03 1:37:28 PM
  No.: 11
llll bbbb SPA-11-general-Pneumonia outbreak claims 242 victims in Hong Kong =

Hong Kong, March 23, SPA -- An elderly man died Sunday and 25 other people in Hong Kong have become infected with the strain of atypical pneumonia known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The 80-year-old man, who also suffered from a heart condition, died early Sunday, bringing the death toll from the outbreak in the territory to six.

Twenty-five more people were diagnosed with atypical pneumonia, health officials announced Sunday afternoon, bringing the total toll in Hong Kong to 242 people.

Two schools have been closed since pupils picked up the virus and the territory's biggest sporting event of the year, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, which kicks off next weekend, is in jeopardy because ofthe outbreak.

The global pneumonia outbreak is believed to have originated in Hong Kong after a doctor from Guangzhou, southern China, infected guests from Singapore and Canada in a popular Kowloon tourist hotel last month.

The people he infected flew overseas and are believed to have helped spread the virus around the world, claiming hundreds of victims.

There were more than 300 cases of atypical pneumonia in southern China last month, which included the deaths of five people. --SPA1343 Local Time 1043 GMT

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