UN health agency reports first day with no SARS death in nearly

As of today the toll stood at 8,402 probable SARS cases with 772 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.The peak numbers of deaths occurred during the second week of March, when as many as 20 new deaths were being reported on some days.With outbreaks at all the initial “hot zones” either contained or coming under control, SARS is clearly in decline, indicating that recommended control measures are effective when combined with political commitment and determination, WHO said.The fact that the chain of transmission has been broken in Viet Nam and Singapore underscores the WHO position that SARS can be contained, despite the absence of a vaccine, robust diagnostic test and specific treatment. Control currently depends on prompt detection and isolation of cases, good infection control in hospitals, and the tracing and quarantine of contacts.Viet Nam has remained free of new SARS cases since 8 April. In Singapore, the last locally acquired probable case was isolated on 11 May. No new cases have since been detected in either country despite a high level of alert and aggressive investigation of all rumoured cases.The experience in Toronto, where more than 70 new cases have been reported since 26 May, underscores the risk of a resurgence of cases and the constant need for vigilance. A single imported case can re-ignite an outbreak or bring cases to a new area, if preparedness measures are weak, WHO added.

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