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China confirms three have SARS

China is on alert after SARS killed 800 worldwide last year.
• Explainer:  What is SARS?
Beijing (China)
Health Organizations

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China has confirmed that three suspected SARS cases have been upgraded to "three confirmed cases" in Beijing.

All three are linked to this year's first confirmed SARS case in Beijing, a medical student who caught the respiratory disease in March while researching the virus at Beijing's Institute of Virology.

All of China's new cases of the highly contagious ailment are limited to people who worked at the institute -- where SARS samples are kept -- and others who came in contact with them.

One of the new cases is the father of the first SARS case in Beijing, a woman who has since been released.

The latest cases raises the total of confirmed cases in China to nine -- seven in Beijing and two in the southern Anhui province.

Only one of the confirmed SARS cases has proven fatal. A 53-year-old woman in Anhui died on April 19, after contracting the illness from her daughter, a Beijing lab worker who is in stable condition with the syndrome.

The ministry confirmed she had SARS 11 days after her death. She had previously been listed as a suspected case.

The three other confirmed Beijing SARS patients are all related; one of them was a nurse who had been treating a case from Anhui province in eastern China.

SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome affected more than 8,000 people between November 2002 and July 2003 in what the WHO deemed a "global threat."

Nearly 800 of those who contracted the disease died from it. Hong Kong, mainland China and Vietnam were the hardest hit.

-- CNN Producer Tara Duffy and Beijing Bureau Chief Jaime FlorCruz contributed to this report

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