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New pneumonia virus patient in city

Mar 21 2003

By Sophie Blakemore, Birmingham Post


A man was today receiving treatment in a Birmingham hospital, suffering from a suspected case of the new pneumonia virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

The man, believed to have been in China a week ago, walked into Dudley Road’s City Hospital yesterday afternoon. After assessment by medical staff he was transferred by ambulance to the specialist infectious disease unit at Heartlands Hospital where he remained last night.

It is only the fourth probable case of the infection in the country, after a third suspected case was confirmed in London by the Department of Health on Wednesday night.

Other cases of the disease have been treated in Dublin and Manchester since the new strain was detected in the Far East last week.

Health officials believe the strain could have originated in South East Asia.

A spokesman for City Hospital last night confirmed staff had seen a man suffering from symptoms similar to SARS.

“A patient was seen on Thursday afternoon with symptoms resembling the current flu-like virus believed to originate in Asia.

“We were told he had visited China a week ago. He was immediately put into an isolation cubicle and staff treating him were issued protective masks.

“The patient has been transferred to the Infectious Diseases unit at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.”

Consultant microbiologist at the hospital, Dr Adam Fraise, said there was no danger to the public who were in the hospital at the same time. “There is no risk to people who come into casual contact. We will be monitoring staff who treated him.”

A spokeswoman for Heartlands Hospital said last night: “The patient is in a stable condition and he has been placed in isolation as a precautionary measure.”

At the moment only people who have been to Singapore, China, Vietnam and Hong Kong are believed to be at risk.

The symptoms of so-called SARS are a sudden onset of fever, shortness of breath, cough or sore throat and occasionally a rash.

Anyone who is concerned is advised to consult their GP or telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.


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