Number of new SARS cases in China continues to climb UN health
WHO officials in China said they believe the development of a central database of operational SARS data would greatly aid in combating the disease. “The next few months will prove crucial in the attempt to contain SARS worldwide, which now greatly depends on whether the disease can be controlled in China,” the agency said in a statement.WHO is studying how best to support hospitals in some of China’s poorer western and northern provinces, as concern continues that hospitals in these resource-poor regions may not have the necessary facilities to properly isolate and treat SARS patients. More front-line hospital staff with expertise in dealing with infectious diseases may also be required, as are guidelines for China’s national health care system on the kinds of infection control measures needed to prevent continuing transmission of the disease.The agency noted that Shanghai is to enforce stricter SARS preventive measures, including the enforcement of 14-day quarantine periods for travellers arriving from affected areas. Traffic checkpoints have already been set up to screen people coming into the city, where they are given temperature checks and asked to fill out health declaration forms.Meanwhile, WHO also updated its case definition for SARS to take into account the appropriate use of results from laboratory tests. Several diagnostic tests have been developed by various laboratories for the detection of the SARS virus and antibodies to the virus. However, all presently available tests have specific strengths and weaknesses.The agency stressed that it is continuing to advise clinicians that patients should not have their case definition category downgraded while awaiting results of laboratory testing or on the basis of negative results.