EX-CAREGIVER FROM CANADA POSSIBLE SARS FATALITY

Manila, April 20, 2003 -- The Department of Health has ordered the 
quarantine of about 40 health workers and relatives of a 46-year-old 
Filipina who had worked as a caregiver in Toronto, Canada, and is now being 
seen as the country's second "probable'' SARS case.

A DOH official said there were strong suspicions that the caregiver, who 
died at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila on April 14, had been afflicted 
with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

"That is why we immediately ordered a voluntary quarantine of about 10 San 
Lazaro doctors, nurses and more than 30 of her family members,'' said the 
official, who asked not to be named.

The official said the case of the caregiver had all the elements of a 
probable SARS case. She came from a SARS-infected area. She had a cough, 
flu and breathing problems, and had died of respiratory failure.

SARS patients who have progressed to a stage in which they experience 
breathing difficulties are considered to be in their most contagious stage.

"There is a high index of suspicion that she was SARS probable,'' the 
official said.

A specimen of the woman's blood has been sent to Japan for laboratory 
testing to determine if she had the coronavirus, the carrier agent of SARS.

The official said the DOH was working with Canadian officials to effect a 
"contract tracing'' to find out the number of people the caregiver had 
gotten in touch with.

The country's first probable SARS case was a German who had contracted the 
disease in Hong Kong. The patient has recovered from the disease, but 
remains in quarantine.

In Canada, a member of the Filipino Catholic charismatic group Bukas Loob 
sa Diyos (BLD) Covenant Community died of SARS on April 1.

The DOH is instituting special quarantine measures for members of the BLD 
returning to the country from Canada in view of reports that 29 members of 
the group had contact with the SARS victim.

"There is now strong suspicions that the BLD member the 29 were exposed to 
was indeed a SARS patient,'' Dr. Maria Consortia Quizon, director of the 
National Epidemiology Center, told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

Quizon said BLD leaders in Canada had offered to alert the DOH about 
members who may want to pay the country a visit.

Canadian health officials are closely monitoring the health of the 
residents of a Toronto condominium where a member of the BLD who died of 
SARS had lived, The Ottawa Citizen reported.

Health officials in Toronto, said the newspaper had monitored two unrelated 
SARS cases in the building. They expressed fears that the disease was 
spreading out of control.

The situation at the Toronto condominium where the family lived is being 
likened to the Amoy Gardens in Hong Kong where many residents were infected 
with SARS.

In a news report posted on canada.com, the Ottawa newspaper reported that 
the son of the BLD member who died of SARS could have carried the SARS 
virus to Montreal where he came in contact with "hundreds" of people during 
a business trip.

Quoting the Toronto health official, the newspaper reported "the same son 
also apparently traveled to Montreal with several other people for a 
Primerica Financial Services business meeting last weekend while he was 
showing symptoms consistent with SARS and was in contact with hundreds of 
people there."

To date, no other people who attended the conference have developed 
symptoms associated with SARS, but they were ordered to stay home until 
Tuesday of next week as a precaution, according to John Carsley, head of 
infectious diseases at the Montreal Public Health Department. (By Armand N. 
Nocum, Inquirer)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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