Hong Kong, July 24 (Reuters): Twelve people in Hong Kong, most of them from a mental institution, have been admitted to hospital as suspected SARS cases, raising fears of a resurgence of the illness that killed hundreds around the globe.
A government statement issued late today said the 12 had undergone preliminary testing and the results showed none of the patients was SARS-positive.
“At this point, no laboratory test has shown any positive result to SARS,” the statement said. But microbiologist Guan Yi said it would take up to two days for conclusive results on the tests.
“The one-day tests are not really reliable,” said Guan, a SARS expert from the University of Hong Kong.
A government spokeswoman said earlier all the patients had respiratory problems such as fever and coughs but they were in stable condition and under observation. The suspected cases come about one month after the WHO declared Hong Kong free of SARS. The city is just beginning to recover from the disease, which killed about 300 people and ravaged Hong Kong’s economy.