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Second virus suspect case discharged

The experts’ panel formed to evaluate the condition of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) patients in Calcutta ordered the release of Radheyshyam Gupta, second SARS-positive case lodged at Infectious Diseases (ID) Hospital, in Beleghata, for the past two weeks.

Gupta, a resident of Topsia, had been on a tour of Southeast Asia, where he reportedly caught the virus. He was released from the hospital late on Tuesday. Director of medical education C.R. Maity said even though the test reports of the other two SARS suspects were yet to arrive, they “have become almost irrelevant now, as the symptoms are more our focus”.

Maity added that none of the SARS patients or suspects have been administered the anti-viral medicine Ribavirin so far, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed on use of antibiotics.

The state government has received a report from WHO on the SARS cases in the state, stating that these are merely “suspected SARS” cases and there was no reason to panic.

“We have been keeping in touch regularly with WHO. It has informed us that establishing the presence of the corona virus in the human body cannot be taken as evidence of SARS. A patient must also have the symptoms of SARS, like respiratory distress and fever,” said a member of the expert committee.

Later speaking to Metro, director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said the government was monitoring all the cases and “informing WHO about the daily developments”.

Asitabha Purakayastha, meanwhile, passed his first day after release from Beleghata’s ID Hospital at his Madhyamgram residence without any trouble. Dismissing reports that some neighbours had demanded to see his fitness certificate, family friend Swapan Majumder said Purakayastha was feeling “much better” and would soon resume work.

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