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New SARS Study Shows Virus Far More Lethal Than Most Think - 2003-05-07

A new study of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Hong Kong shows the disease is far more lethal than people think, with patients over 60 having only a 50-50 chance of surviving. Brian Purchia has more on the SARS front.

The study is published Wednesday in the British medical journal, the Lancet. It says the virus is killing nearly 1 in 5 Hong Kong patients hospitalized with the disease, with the age of a person being a major factor in whether he or she recovers.

Doctors from the World Health Organization are heading to northern China's Hebei province, which borders Beijing, to investigate why SARS cases have doubled there in recent days. Over the past few days more than 100 people in Hebei have gotten ill with SARS. VOA's Katherine Maria reports from Hong Kong.

“Hebei is the source of many of Beijing's migrant workers. China fears this ‘floating population’ will export the SARS outbreak from the capital to some of China's poorer regions.”

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao Wednesday called on government officials to work to prevent SARS from spreading into the country's vast rural areas. This farmer is concerned.

"No one is allowed to go into to my village. It has to be controlled. If someone gets the virus, all villagers will get it too."

Prime Minister Wen said SARS prevention is key to rural economic and social development.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Wednesday introduced new measures to contain the spread of SARS. Masks were made mandatory on trains and temperatures will now be taken at stations.