NATIONAL

American tourist SARS-negative: Minister

MUMBAI April 9. The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has found the American national, Rebecca Ralegh SARS-negative, according to the Maharashtra Health Minister, Digvijay Khanvilkar.

Mr. Khanvilkar told the Assembly, that the NIV tests revealed absence of metapneumovirus and caronaviras — the cause of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) — in her blood.

Ms. Ralegh, a 23-year-old tourist had come to India via China, Vietnam and Thailand. On arrival in Mumbai from Delhi, she was found to be suffering from fever and cough and removed to the Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, and kept in an isolated ward.

Another test conducted at the Ranbaxy Laboratory found that she was suffering from parainfluenza. Mr. Khanvilkar said now she had no fever or cough.

Later, Mr. Khanvilkar and Dr. Subhash Salunkhe, Director General of Health, told reporters that the American was keen to return home. Her condition was reported to the US Consulate General here. The consulate officials could not visit her because of the quarantine but provided her with a cellphone she used to speak to her parents back home.

Mr. Khanvilkar said now all incoming air passengers are required to fill in a form giving information about their places of stay in the city so that any suspected case could be located and followed up. He said this arrangement was necessary because the incubation period of the virus is two to ten days.