False alarm over SARS

Symptoms similar to those of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) presented by an airline passenger who arrived in Athens on a flight from India via Singapore sparked an alert but turned out to be a false alarm. According to the Center for the Control of Infectious Disease, no case of SARS has been found in Greece. The 55-year-old woman, said to be an Israeli who was in transit to Tel Aviv, was examined by airport health services on arrival in Athens and found to be suffering from a simple case of gastroenteritis. She left for Tel Aviv on a later flight. The other passengers on her flight from Singapore were quarantines briefly and also examined, in accordance with World Health Organization directives. Nine people have died in Singapore and 140 fallen ill with SARS, which has killed at least 116 people worldwide out of more than 2,700 infected. There have been 58 deaths in China, 32 in Hong Kong, 10 in Canada, four in Vietnam, two in Thailand and one in Malaysia.