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SARS case released, govt talks technique

The state health department on Tuesday released the last Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) case, Jamil Ahmed, from Infectious Diseases (ID) Hospital in Beleghata.

The first confirmed SARS case in the state, Asitabha Purakayastha, and the other suspects — Radheyshyam Gupta, Hazari Prasad and Sisir Sanketi — have already been quarantined, treated and released from the hospital. The average quarantine period is seven to 10 days.

Elated with its success in dealing with the malady, the state health department even shared the technique of tackling SARS with a Japanese doctor at Writers' Buildings on Tuesday. Toshiki Matsubara, counsellor and medical attaché with the embassy of Japan in Bangladesh, met director of medical education C.R. Maity to learn how Bengal had “successfully” dealt with SARS.

“There is not a single case in the state where SARS was contracted from a patient of another state,” Maity elaborated. “Not only have we quarantined the patients carefully, we also kept in touch with a number of those who have recently returned from SARS-affected countries. This was done to find out if they have developed any symptoms of SARS later, though they might not have been suspects when they landed at the airport,” he added. The state has been carrying on this “random sampling” as a precautionary measure for the past few weeks.

Even though Ahmed was released from ID Hospital, the state government is still keeping a tight vigil. “We are constantly checking the entry and exit points, like the ports and the city airport,” Maity said. Also, till such time as the Union health ministry gives its go-ahead, the 100 beds at ID Hospital will be kept aside for SARS cases, the director of medical education said.

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