Molecular Biological Analysis of SARS Viruses in Taiwan
2003 Vol.19 NO.6
The first case of atypical pneumonia (SARS as it was called initially) was an American businessman who became ill on 26 February 2003 in Hanoi. He was later sent to Hong Kong for treatment and died there. Thereafter, there had been in Hong Kong and Vietnam cases of atypical pneumonia complicated with respiratory failure. By late February of the year, there had been in Guangdong Province of China 305 cases of atypical pneumonia with five deaths. Taiwan was, unfortunately hit by the infection in mid-March. A businessman from Taiwan, upon his return from a trip to Guangdong Province, developed symptoms of fever, short breath, and pneumonia, and was admitted to the National Taiwan University Hospital for medical care. There have also been cases in Canada, Singapore and the US. Some medical personnel are infected while caring for patients. The pathogenic agent was initially suspected to be Chlamyida pneumoniae. The infection features infiltrate pneumonia and respiration failure, and is more serious than the atypical pneumonia caused by some known viruses or bacteria. The epidemic has attracted attention and research efforts of many scientists around the world. For distinction and definition, the World Health Organization, on 15 March, named the new infection “severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS”(1).