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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Chinese woman 'killed by Sars'
SARS protection
China have announced five confirmed and four suspected cases
A woman who died last week was suffering from the Sars virus, China's health ministry has confirmed.

The death is said to be the first attributed to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in the world this year.

The 53-year-old woman from the eastern province of Anhui was the mother of a Beijing laboratory employee who contracted the virus at work.

The announcement raised China's number of confirmed Sars cases to five, with four of those patients in hospital.

Four suspected cases of the highly contagious and flu-like Sars have also been detected in Beijing in recent weeks.

But no new cases had been reported in the 24 hours ending on Friday morning, the ministry said.

'Chain of transmission'

All the cases can be traced back to a Beijing laboratory, health officials have said.

What we are saying at the moment is that there is no significant public health threat from Sars in China
World Health Organization

The World Health Organization, which is helping investigate the latest outbreak, also said there was an apparent chain of transmission in the cases so far.

"What we are saying at the moment is that there is no significant public health threat from Sars in China," a spokesman said.

Friday's announcement came as travellers at Chinese railway stations and airports were screened for fevers, as millions left major cities for the May Day holiday.

Hundreds of people have been put in isolation in Beijing and Anhui since the first case was reported.

Sars killed nearly 800 people worldwide last year.

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