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Otago Medical Officer - no further cases

Otago Medical Officer - no further cases

Otago Medical Officer of Health Dr John Holmes today reported no further cases after three unexpected deaths in Otago in the last three weeks.

"Investigations were continuing but at this stage it appears the three deaths are isolated and may be unrelated.

"All the tests looking for an infection have not yielded any organism that would explain why these people died. However, until we get more answers, we have decided to take precautionary measures and treat these cases as if they resulted from an infection. This means a doctor should evaluate anyone who was in contact with the patients when they were sick.

"The Otago District Health Board has compiled a list of all the family, friends and medical contacts of the three people who died.

"No other cases of illness have been reported linked to the three deaths. Preliminary indications for all three cases suggested pulmonary haemorrhage but further work was needed into the causes of death, Dr Holmes said.

"There does not appear to be any occupational or other link for these deaths

"Investigations to date has ruled out Severe Acute Respiratory Sydrome (SARS) but further work was continuing to identify if any virus or bacteria or any other cause can be linked to the deaths.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States is assisting with investigations into the cause of death.

"People with routine colds or winter chills should not be concerned. It is those people who get sick very, very quickly who need to seek urgent medical attention."

ENDS

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