China confirms SARS case in southern province

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BEIJING -- China on Jan. 5 confirmed its first SARS case since the disease was declared contained in July.

The Chinese Health Ministry said a 32-year-old television producer in the southern province of Guangdong was diagnosed with the respiratory disease. The World Health Organization in Beijing also confirmed the case as SARS.

In related news, authorities in Guangdong ordered an emergency slaughter of civet cats and related species in wildlife markets by the end of the week because the animals are believed to be vectors in the transmission of SARS to humans. All of Guangdong's wildlife markets were ordered closed on Jan. 5.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong said it would boost its SARS prevention measures in response to the news from China. Among other things, all pneumonia cases will be tested for SARS and surveillance at border checkpoints will be beefed up.

Already, visitors entering or leaving Hong Kong are required to fill out health declaration forms and pass through infrared temperature-reading machines.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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