Singapore SARS death toll at four

By SONIA KOLESNIKOV, UPI Science News  |  March 31, 2003 at 12:26 PM
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SINGAPORE, March 31 (UPI) -- Singapore's ministry of health said Monday that a fourth person had died of severe acute respiratory syndrome but added that there had been no new cases of the disease reported.

A total of 92 cases with SARS have been reported through Monday, ministry officials said. The total number of patients who have recovered from SARS and have been discharged from hospital has risen to 41, with 47 people still hospitalized, including 13 listed in serious condition.

All cases in Singapore are traceable to three people who contracted SARS in Hong Kong.

The health ministry also reported the death of an Indonesian crewman who developed high fever while onboard a cargo ship sailing between Taiwan and Hong Kong. He died Friday while the ship was en route to Singapore.

The ship arrived Saturday and was anchored in a quarantined area. Two doctors boarded the vessel, examined the crew members and although the history of the illness was not completely typical of SARS, the doctors took all the necessary infection control precautions.

None of the crew members was allowed ashore and the ship was scheduled to leave Singapore Monday night.

Singapore has taken several precautionary measures -- beyond the World Health Organization's recommended control measures -- to ensure the spread of the disease is contained. These include isolating all suspected and confirmed SARS patients in one hospital, enhancing infection control measures for hospital staff, closing schools until April 6 and instituting home quarantine measures for those who have come into contact with anyone diagnosed with SARS.

To guard against further imported SARS cases, the government has tightened screening measures for incoming flights into Changi Airport from affected areas as identified by WHO.

Visibly unwell passengers from affected areas will be asked to obtain a doctor's certification before they are allowed to board the flight to Singapore.

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