- Jeff - The SARS research ongoing was for the MILITARY.
- This is yet, more proof that SARS originated in the military
lab and is still being studied by military around the world.
- The Promed article below makes a point of stating that
the 44 year old researcher was military.
- ....and so, the Dots...they DO Connect!
- SARS - WORLDWIDE (188): TAIWAN, SARS QUARANTINE BREACH
- A ProMED-mail post
- ProMED-mail is a program of the
- International Society for Infectious Diseases
- Date: Thu 18 Dec 2003
- From: Stephen S. Morse <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Source: Associated Press Report, Thu 18 Dec 2003 [edted]
- Breach of quarantine by SARS virus research worker
- Taiwan's 1st SARS patient in 5 months didn't strictly
quarantine himself at home as officials originally said he did, and 2 colleagues
who had close contact with him have flown to America, officials said on
Thu 18 Dec 2003. These developments raised more serious questions about
decisions made by the patient, a 44 year old military scientist who officials
say might have caught SARS while mishandling virus samples in his lab.
Officials also have said he allegedly wasn't wearing safety gear, like
a gown and gloves. Although the researcher suspected that he might have
been exposed to the highly contagious virus, he kept his plans to go to
Singapore on 7 Dec 2003 to attend a conference, officials said.
- Singapore already has quarantined 70 people who had contact
with the man. Taiwanese officials have issued quarantine orders for 25
people, including 3 Americans, one Japanese, and a Singaporean who flew
with the scientist when he returned from Singapore on 10 Dec 2003. Officials
said they were searching for the foreigners. So far, none of the quarantined
has developed SARS symptoms, and officials have said the man was asymptomatic
during his travels and probably didn't infect anyone.
- When the patient tested positive for SARS on Wednesday,
officials said that he had quarantined himself at home since developing
a fever upon his return on 10 Dec 2003. But on Thu 18 Dec 2003, Shih Wen-yi,
a spokesman for Taiwan's Center for Disease Control, told reporters that
the man didn't stay at home the entire time. Shih said that the scientist
spent the night at his work dormitory on 10 Dec 2003. The next day, his
wife drove the researcher -- who wore a surgical mask -- to a suburban
Taipei medical clinic, he said. After his check-up, the scientist went
back home and waited 5 days before he went to a hospital, Shih said. This
was a violation of guidelines that require SARS researchers to seek immediate
hospital care, he said.
- "Maybe our awareness campaign was not enough,"
said Shih, who declined to discuss possible disciplinary action. The clinic's
receptionist and doctor have been quarantined along with 5 people related
to the clinic's staff, Shih said. "There were no other patients in
the clinic at the time," Shih said. The CDC official also said that
2 colleagues who went to Singapore with the researcher traveled to the
United States on 10 Dec 2003, the same day they returned to Taiwan. The
colleagues, who worked for the Ministry of Defense, have been ordered to
return to Taiwan on Sunday, said Shih, who wouldn't say where the men were
in America. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was monitoring
the men, who have shown no SARS symptoms, he said.
- As Taiwanese recovered from the initial scare of the
possible return of SARS, the focus turned to the scientist's mistakes.
Officials have said that he might have been infected by spilled virus samples
while rushing to clean his laboratory. Shih declined to discuss the lab
conditions and a claim by the World Health Organization that the researcher
wasn't wearing protective gear. An investigative report would be released
in 3 days, he said.
- Defense Minister Tang Yiau-ming defended the researcher,
who was testing how SARS responds to different medicines. Tang said that
the researcher had his wife, 2 adult daughters, and father stay in separate
homes after he got sick. "Because he performed this dangerous work,
he understands its danger, so he exerted the utmost effort to prevent (mistakes),"
Tang said. But Tang acknowledged that mistakes were made.
- [byline: Stephan Grauwels]
- Stephen S. Morse
- [This report discloses gross negligence and irresponsibility
in the handling of SARS virus in a laboratory situation, in clear breach
of the regulations recommended by the WHO SARS Laboratory Workshop, 22
Oct 2003 (see: <http://www.who.int/csr/sars/guidelines/en/SARSLabmeeting.pdf>)
These recommendations state the following:
- "(iv) Biosafety in the laboratory, and inventory
of SARS CoV cultures
- The importance of laboratory biosafety was clearly demonstrated
with the occurrence of a laboratory-acquired case of SARS CoV infection
in Singapore last month. The participants discussed a number of biosafety
issues, including the biocontainment level for culturing SARS CoV and working
with live SARS CoV, the biocontainment level under which SARS CoV cultures
and clinical specimens were stored, and the need to have national inventories
of SARS CoV and some form of national certification of labs working with
- The recommendations are: 1. To endorse the WHO biosafety
guidelines for handling of SARS specimens which states that SARS CoV should
be cultured under biocontainment level 3, and that diagnostic activities
which do not involve culturing the virus should be undertaken at a minimum
of biocontainment level 2 using level 3 work practices. 2. That cultures
of SARS CoV should be stored at a minimum of biocontainment level 3, and
that clinical specimens known to contain SARS CoV be preferably stored
at a similar level, but if not possible, that they and clinical specimens
suspected of containing SARS CoV be stored at a minimum of biocontainment
level 2 within a secure (locked) environment. 3. That national governments
maintain an inventory of laboratories working with and/or storing live
cultures of SARS CoV, and that the inventory should include clinical specimens
known to contain SARS CoV. 4. That while not wishing to restrict the research
and diagnosis of SARS CoV, that national governments institute a process
by which laboratories wishing to work with SARS CoV be licensed to do so."
- The information that follows is taken from the current
issue (18 Dec 2003) of the New England Journal of Medicine and relates
to assessment of risk of SARS transmission during air travel. This article
concludes that: "Transmission of SARS may occur on an aircraft when
infected persons fly during the symptomatic phase of illness. Measures
to reduce the risk of transmission are warranted". Fortunately, the
Taiwanese SARS virus-infected research worker described above is reported
to have been asymptomatic during his air travel to and from Singapore and
the risk of transmission of SARS to other passengers is slight. - Mod.CP]
- Date: Thu 18 Dec 2003
- From: Badri Badrinath <email@example.com>
- Source: N Engl J Med 2003; 349: 2416-22. 18 Dec [edited]
- SARS transmission in aircraft
- (From : Oslen SJ, et al. Transmission of the severe acute
respiratory syndrome on aircraft. N Engl J Med 2003; 349: 2416-22)
- The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread rapidly
around the world, largely because persons infected with the SARS-associated
coronavirus (SARS-CoV) traveled on aircraft to distant cities. Although
many infected persons traveled on commercial aircraft, the risk, if any,
of in-flight transmission is unknown.
- We attempted to interview passengers and crew members
at least 10 days after they had taken one of 3 flights that transported
a patient or patients with SARS. All index patients met the criteria of
the World Health Organization for a probable case of SARS, and index or
secondary cases were confirmed to be positive for SARS-CoV on reverse-transcriptase
polymerase chain reaction or serologic testing.
- After one flight carrying a symptomatic person and 119
other persons, laboratory-confirmed SARS developed in 16 persons, 2 others
were given diagnoses of probable SARS, and 4 were reported to have SARS
but could not be interviewed. Among the 22 persons with illness, the mean
time from the flight to the onset of symptoms was 4 days (range, 2-8),
and there were no recognized exposures to patients with SARS before or
after the flight. Illness in passengers was related to the physical proximity
to the index patient, with illness reported in 8 of the 23 persons who
were seated in the 3 rows in front of the index patient, as compared with
10 of the 88 persons who were seated elsewhere (relative risk, 3.1; 95
percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 6.9). In contrast, another flight carrying
four symptomatic persons resulted in transmission to at most one other
person, and no illness was documented in passengers on the flight that
carried a person who had presymptomatic SARS.
- Transmission of SARS may occur on an aircraft when infected
persons fly during the symptomatic phase of illness. Measures to reduce
the risk of transmission are warranted.
- Dr P Badrinath MD, PhD
- Specialist Registrar in Public Health,
- Southend-on-Sea PCT
- Recognised Clinical Teacher,
- University of Cambridge, UK
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
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