Several diagnostic hypotheses were excluded from tests, including SARS, the Wuhan City Health Department said.
It was there that the mysterious illness first appeared last month. The outbreak had raised fears of a new Sars epidemic – hundreds of people had died of one in 2003 in the People’s Republic.
In the meantime, 59 people have contracted the mysterious pneumonia, seven of them seriously. All are being quarantined, the cause is still unclear. “Nobody died,” said the health department.
The Chinese authorities had reported the outbreak of the new disease for the first time last week, so the first case was registered on December 12. Several of the sufferers worked at a fish market in central China‘s Wuhan, which has been closed since then.
In the city of eleven million, the outbreak of the disease immediately led to speculation about a link to the highly contagious respiratory disease SARS, which killed 349 people in China in 2003 and another 299 in Hong Kong. Police said on Wednesday that eight people were arrested for “spreading false and unchecked information on the Internet”.
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