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First African SARS case suspected

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In Washington, top U.S. SARS doctors tell lawmakers about steps they're taking to fight the spread of the mysterious illness. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports.
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There was a major setback in the struggle to contain a potentially deadly virus spreading worldwide.
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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- A 62-year-old South African man is being treated at a Pretoria hospital as a "probable SARS" case, according to officials.

If confirmed, this would be the first known case of SARS -- or severe acute respiratory syndrome -- on the African continent.

The man returned to South Africa on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong on March 27. He didn't show signs of an ailment until seven days later when he developed flu-like symptoms and a cough.

On April 7, he was admitted to Pretoria East Hospital with severe respiratory distress, hospital officials said, and is being held in isolation.

According to doctors, the man -- whose name is being withheld -- is on a ventilator, but doing well.

He had contacts with 17 people, including eight family members, who are now being monitored by health officials.

While exhibiting all the signs of SARS, two tests for the illness have come out negative, and further tests will be conducted, doctors said.

The number of deaths attributed to SARS now stands at least 104 out of more than 2,600 cases so far worldwide.

As the death toll mounts, there are fears of a new outbreak at a housing estate in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, which has been the region hardest hit by SARS outside of the Chinese mainland, reported 45 more infections and two deaths on Tuesday.

SARS has infected at least 928 people in Hong Kong, killing 25, out of a total of more than 2,600 cases worldwide that have claimed at least 104 deaths. (Full story)

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