Chinese health authorities are trying to identify what is causing an outbreak of pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan, officials said on Friday, as the tally of cases rose to 44 and Singapore said it would screen arrivals on flights from there.
The health commission said all patients have received treatment in isolation and the city was tracking people who had come into close contact with the patients.
Health workers evacuate "infected patients" from a building during a SARS outbreak drill in Hong Kong in November 2004. Seven were in serious condition and the others were in stable condition, officials in Hong Kong said on Thursday.
Patients have been reporting symptoms ranging from fever, to shortness of breath and lung infections, but health officials remain baffled as to what's causing the illness.
Initial laboratory tests found no "apparent human-to-human transmission" and so far no medical staff had been infected, the statement said.
At its height, SARS infected more than 8000 people worldwide, killing 349 in mainland China and a further 299 in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003. Many cases have been traced to South China Seafood City food market, which has since been disinfected and is under investigation, according to The Associated Press.
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The church member reportedly told police she received a text from Ebichi asking her to come over. An autopsy performed Tuesday confirmed the victim was in her first trimester of pregnancy.
The Chinese National Health Commission, a cabinet-level executive department for sanitation and health, said it has sent a group of experts to Wuhan on December 31 to lead more tests and another investigation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) criticized China at the time for downplaying and underreporting the rate of infection.
News of the sudden outbreak led to online speculation of a link to the highly contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Local media reported that the market, which has since been shut down, sold other wildlife, such as rabbits, snakes and pheasants.
Wuhan police on Wednesday said they had punished eight people for "publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification". He said that a six-year-old passenger who developed a mild fever after transferring in Wuhan is now under health monitoring at home.
At Singapore's Changi Airport, travelers arriving from Wuhan began undergoing temperature screenings on Friday. Similar measures are in place in South Korea, said Park Hye-kyung, a senior official at Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, which has launched an emergency center to deal with the issue.
None of the regional authorities have expanded inspections and screening measures to cover other parts of China.