News / 

Outbreak in British Columbia Not Linked to SARS

Save Story

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Following extensive investigations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has dispelled fears that an outbreak of respiratory illness in an aged care facility in Canada might be linked to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

"Clinically, the disease itself was strikingly different from the SARS outbreak in the spring," WHO said in a press release. "The features of the current outbreak included a low case fatality, runny nose, lack of fever in most patients, and no SARS-like changes in the lung seen on X-ray."

On August 14, Canadian public health officials reported to WHO that an unidentified respiratory disease in a Surrey, British Columbia health care facility had infected 143 residents and staff. Some initial testing suggested the SARS coronavirus might have played a role.

WHO said it has now gathered, together with Canadian health authorities, enough evidence to conclude that the outbreak is not SARS. Analysis from laboratories in Canada and the United States did not confirm the initial concern that SARS had mutated into a milder disease.

"This outbreak has no international public health implications," WHO stated, adding that sequencing of a portion of the virus causing the outbreak has led to the finding that it was not the SARS coronavirus but another human coronavirus known as OC43. This virus, which is also one of the causes of the common cold, has been associated with respiratory outbreaks in aged care facilities in other countries.

Canada continues to be a safe destination for travel and travellers from the country pose no exceptional SARS risk, WHO said. This article was prepared by Biotech Week editors from staff and other reports.

To see more of the, or to subscribe, go to

©Copyright 2003, Biotech Week via &

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast