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WHO Says SARS Outbreak 'Over Its Peak'

10:40 AM, Jun 5, 2003   |    comments
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BEIJING (AP) -- The SARS outbreak is "over its peak" around the world, including in the hardest-hit country China, a World Health Organization official said Thursday. A renewed outbreak in Toronto shows, however, that the world must still remain vigilant against the illness, said Henk Bekedam, the WHO representative in China. "It's fair to say that the SARS epidemic is over its peak. We can see it globally and we can also see it in China," Bekedam told a news conference. "I think that's very good news." He said the outbreak in Canada's largest city showed that another epidemic could be sparked with "just one missed diagnosis." "I think the challenge now is to eliminate (SARS) as a public health threat," he said at a news conference. His comments came as China for a second consecutive day reported no new cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome on its mainland. The Health Ministry reported two new fatalities, raising the mainland death toll to 336. More than 5,000 people have been infected on China's mainland. In Hong Kong, leader hailed the lifting of a U.S. travel advisory against the territory as proof it is recovering from the virus. With Taiwan reporting just one new case, the three areas of the world worst-hit by SARS appeared on the road to recovery. Between them, they have suffered about 90 percent of the more than 8,300 infections and 775 fatalities reported in more than two dozen countries since SARS first emerged in southern China in November. Related articles: - China Denies SARS Cover Up in Beijing - Canada Quarantines 5,000 Due to SARS - Taiwan Insists SARS Crisis Is Declining - Toronto Hospitals on High SARS Alert

Associated Press

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