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Scientists Confirm SARS Identity Found

April 16, 2003

Scientists Confirm SARS Identity Found
In a positive step toward eventually developing a cure for SARS, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that scientists have confirmed the identity of the mysterious illness.

According to reports, scientists are nearly certain that a new form of coronavirus, a virus that typically plays a role in the common cold, was the cause of the outbreak. The group conducted animal tests to determine the cause of SARS, which has killed 161 people worldwide so far, mainly in China and Hong Kong. The illness outbreak has also made 3,235 people sick in 22 countries.

"Verifying the cause is important to the development of new drugs to combat the disease and to the creation of a vaccine, should that be needed, as well as for the refinement of diagnostic tests that will help stop the disease spreading," said Dr. Klaus Stohr, a WHO virologist.

Canada is the only country outside of Asia where SARS has caused deaths numbering 13, many other patients have been quarantined, and some hospitals have been closed. However, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) continues to reinforce the message that it is safe to travel to Canada. In the United States, 174 cases have been suspected to date, but thus far no deaths were reported.

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