SARS Quarantine In Texas

Nine people connected to the military have been quarantined in Texas after some reported respiratory problems similar to SARS, officials said.

A group of military personnel passed through the Toronto Airport recently, and some reported mild to moderate respiratory problems earlier this week after returning home, said Capt. David May of Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene.

Only one person in the group fits the definition of a suspected SARS case, and no one has been officially diagnosed with SARS or been hospitalized, May said. But he said the military travelers and some people they've come in contact with, nine people in all, are now under home quarantine.

Officials with the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District said Thursday that there is no reason for alarm.

Federal officials lifted a SARS-related travel alert for Toronto on Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 30 days had elapsed since the last SARS case in the Canadian city developed symptoms.

Last week, the World Health Organization said SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, had been contained.

According to statistics from the WHO, there have been 8,437 cases of SARS so far, and 813 people have died.

China led the world with 5,327 cases and 348 deaths. Hong Kong had 1,755 cases and 298 fatalities. Eighty-four people perished in Taiwan, 38 died in Canada and 32 succumbed in Singapore.

The CDC is currently tracking 421 patients because of signs of SARS. Only 74 are considered probable cases.

SARS begins with a high fever and symptoms like headache and body aches, then develops into a persistent dry cough. The disease apparently spreads though close personal contact.

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