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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

SARS Cases Continue to Rise in Toronto

Aired May 29, 2003 - 20:42   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Seven hundred fifty deaths worldwide. The number of suspected and probable SARS cases in Toronto and Ontario has grown from 31 to 41, and it could go higher. The big jump comes because Canadian officials started using a new, broader definition of a SARS case. Still, any way you count it or define it, more people are getting sick.
Jason Carroll joins us from Toronto.

Jason, Toronto officials and Canadian officials had lobbied so hard to try to get Toronto off the WHO list. This is probably the last thing they wanted to hear.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think you're right. They did lobby hard, saying that they thought it was unfair they were put on that WHO travel advisory list. They said that economically, it had hit the city especially hard. They said this was a crisis. They really felt as though they had a control of it. And they're saying this is a crisis they can control. They just can't say when.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): The focus of the SARS outbreak in Toronto has expanded. From the hospital where it began to this suburban high school. Health officials say an 11th grade student, son of a health care worker, has a suspected case of SARS. As a result, all 1,700 students and staff at the school are quarantined until next Tuesday.

TUSHAH BASU, STUDENT: No school, right? But then it hit in that I'm not allowed to go anywhere. It's like summer vacation without the vacation.

CARROLL: Tashah Basu a 9th grader at the school. As a precautionary measure, we kept our distance from Basu during our interview.

BASU: After it sets in, you worry about the person that has it Or not the person that has it or supposedly has it. Then you worry about yourself afterwards.

Like, can I get it?

CARROLL: To date, just over 7,000 people in Ontario are under quarantine, according to health officials. And on Wednesday, two more people died from SARS. Bringing the number of deaths in Ontario you to 29. Since it started.

DR. SHEELA BASRUR, TORONTO MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH: It's unfortunate that this one almost got contained, but actually did get away, as we have seen. And that frankly has been a very strong lesson learned for all of us.

CARROLL: Canadian health officials admit they let their guard down. They say a lack of precautions in a hospital led to more infection. Canadian health officials also saying the number of probable SARS cases has increased. Now that they're using the World Health Organization's broader definition. Seventeen cases that were suspected are now probable, bringing the total number to 29.

Dr. Donald Low is the chief microbiologist on the investigation.

DR. DONALD LOW, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: Can't put a time line when it's going to be -- when we can close the book on this. I mean, it's too early to say that now. And it's going to be a real challenge to us to not only convince ourselves but to convince the world.

CARROLL: Despite the new numbers, Toronto, as of now, is not under a WHO travel advisory list.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: And Anderson, in order for Toronto to be put back on the WHO travel advisory list, it would have to meet several criteria, including proof that the disease was exported outside of the city -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks very much tonight.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Seven hundred fifty deaths worldwide. The number of suspected and probable SARS cases in Toronto and Ontario has grown from 31 to 41, and it could go higher. >


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