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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 19:09 GMT
Second UK mystery bug case
Nigel Glassey
Nigel Glassey is recovering
A second suspected case of the severe flu-like illness which has claimed lives around the world has been reported in the UK.

Tests are being carried out to find out whether he is suffering from the pneumonia-like condition known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The patient is a man from London who travelled from Taiwan to Heathrow via Hong Kong on March 17.

He is being treated in the isolation unit at London's Royal Free Hospital.

His condition is said to be stable.

The airline on which he travelled, Cathay Pacific, has been notified of the man's condition.

Tests

The first UK patient thought to have the condition was named on Wednesday as Nigel Glassey, a 64-year-old businessman from Manchester.

Mr Glassey became seriously ill after returning to the UK from Hong Kong.

He is also undergoing tests to see if he is suffering from SARS.

Public health experts are carrying out tests to exclude viral and bacterial causes of pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a rare emergency warning at the weekend, declaring the sickness "a worldwide health threat", and saying that cases had been reported on three continents.

In total the virus is thought to have killed up to 16 people, and put hundreds more in intensive care.

Virus identified

Scientists in Hong Kong and Germany believe they have identified the cause of the illness as a virus from the paramyxoviridae family.

Members of this group are responsible for conditions such as mumps and measles.

Mr Glassey is being treated in an isolation unit in specialist Infectious Diseases Unit at North Manchester General Hospital.

He has received intra-venous antibiotics and oxygen therapy.

Hospital staff who are in direct contact with Mr Glassey are wearing protective clothing including masks, aprons and visors. His immediate family are taking similar precautions when they visit.

Mr Glassey was seriously ill when he appeared at accident and emergency after getting off a flight from south east Asia. He had serious difficulty breathing.

He had flown from Hong Kong to Manchester via Amsterdam.

Health officials say evidence so far suggests the infection is passed on through close contacts such as family members and healthcare workers.

But they recommend any passengers who have travelled on flights from China, Hong Kong and South Asia who develop high fever and chest symptoms should contact doctors.




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