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Fox and cat join civet cat as confirmed SARS carriers
Updated: 2004-04-17 15:28

Chinese scientists have found that the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is also carried by foxes and cats, not just civets, according to the Guangzhou Evening Newspaper.

Lin Jinyan, the leader of a SARS control and prevention research team in south China's Guangdong Province, reported in a seminar held in Guangzhou that other wild animals were also found to carry the virus.

The team had tested thousands of people carrying SARS antibodies in 16 cities in Guangdong and found that among 994 people working in animal markets, 10.6 percent carried positive antibodies, and among 123 civet cat husbandry staff, only 3.25 percent tested positive.

Experts have also tested foxes, hedgeshrews and cats collected in the province and discovered that some carried the SARS coronavirus.

On January 16, World Health Organization experts claimed that SARS or a SARS-like coronavirus was linked to civet cats.

WHO epidemiologist Robert Breiman said it's possible that other animals were also involved in the spread of SARS.

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