SARS patient says he never ate civet
( 2004-01-07 11:45) (Reuters)
The Chinese television producer who contracted SARS had never eaten civet cat, Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday, as thousands of the animals were culled on fears they may carry a form of the virus that can jump to humans.
The only contact with wildlife the patient could recall was with a mouse he threw out of a window, the Xinhua report said.
The victim, surnamed Luo, was confirmed as having SARS this week and is due to be released from hospital in the southern province of Guangdong on Thursday.
Chinese health authorities said a gene sample from the 32-year-old man resembled that of a coronavirus found in civets, a local delicacy.
China has given a Saturday deadline for the slaughter of about 10,000 civets as it tries to avert a SARS outbreak.
"Still unaware of the cause of his catching SARS, environmentalist Luo said he had never touched or eaten civet cats in his life and recalled only having thrown a baby mouse out of the window by hand," Xinhua said.
Luo, 32, complained of a headache and fever on December 16 and was admitted to an isolation ward at the No. 1 Hospital of Zhongshan University on December 20.
Initially diagnosed as having pneumonia, he was transferred to the No. 8 People's Hospital on December 24.
"The disease is not that fearful," Luo said in a telephone interview with the news agency from the Guangdong capital, Guangzhou, on Tuesday.
"It was quite a shock to realise that I might have contracted SARS, when I was sent to the isolation ward," said Luo.
Tang Xiaoping, president of the No. 8 People's Hospital, said Luo had met the three standards set for a SARS patient to be discharged -- disappearance of shadows on the lungs, loss of accompanying symptoms and no fever for more than a week.
"My appetite is very good now, and I can almost take all the food provided by the hospital," said Luo.
Luo had been living alone in Guangzhou and had not told his family about his
illness, Xinhua said.
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