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SARS Also Seen in Japan

Posted April. 04, 2003 22:19,   


Following the decision of the United States to withdraw its ambassadors from China on April 4, Japan announced that there seems to be SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) victims in Japan.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that there is a high possibility of SARS spreading worldwide even before they figure out the source, the manner of infection and treatment for the highly infectious syndrome.

A research team from the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun active operations in Guangdong Province of China, believed the origin of the first SARS case. “It could take longer than expected to find the cause,” they said.

The U.S. State Department announced that they would withdraw its ambassadors from all legations within China Friday following the decision to evacuate ambassadors from Hong Kong and Vietnam, which was announced two days earlier. It is also examining expanding this measure to other regions as well, and requested Americans to restrain from traveling to infected regions.

For the first time, Japan openly announced that 17 of its citizens seem to be infected by SARS and has decided to regard SARS as a ‘new infection’. Even though the pathogenic organ of this new infection has not yet been confirmed, since it is life threatening, patients can be forcefully hospitalized or an infected building can be quarantined in accordance with rules regarding such viruses as Ebola, hemorrhagic fever and the plague. With this announcement of Japan, Korea remains last on the list of victims in Asia.

“SARS is spreading rapidly not only in regions of Asia but to the regions of North America, Europe and Oceania,” reported the World Health Organization Friday, having presented that currently there are 2,272 infected victims along with 82 deaths. However, experts predict the actual number of victims to be far greater than what is reported by the WHO.

As the fear of SARS has spread so rapidly, the Internet Edition of the Washington Post criticized China by stating, “Since the authoritarian and communist China didn’t properly deal with SARS, it has driven the whole world into ‘fear and anxiety’”.

Los Angeles Times reported that the harm caused by SARS in the Asian Market would be much greater than the harm caused by the Iraqi War.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com