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WHO Removes Philippines From SARS List

WHO Removes Philippines From List Of Areas With Recent Local Sars Transmission

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today removed the Philippines, from the list of areas with recent local transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), saying 20 days have passed with no new cases detected.

<"http://www.who.int/csr/sars/archive/2003_05_20/en/">WHO said the last locally acquired probable case was isolated on 30 April, meaning that opportunities for the virus to spread to others were significantly reduced. The agency said this is a reliable indication transmission has been interrupted as 20 days represent twice the maximum incubation period.

The Philippines Department of Health has, to date, reported a total of 12 probable SARS cases and two deaths, WHO said. Local officials promptly and extensively investigated all cases, and all were linked to source cases.

The Department of Health today also told WHO that active surveillance has been ongoing since 17 March to detect and investigate any new SARS cases in the country's 16 regions, all of whom report daily on whether any suspect cases have been identified.

WHO said the efficient surveillance and reporting system in the Philippines, which reflects strong political commitment and a high level of awareness among health staff, confers an additional level of assurance that no local transmission is now occurring.

As of today, a cumulative total of 7,919 probable cases, with 662 deaths, have been reported from 28 countries.

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