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Suspected SARS victim: 'No, not me'

Alan Hoskin is one of the suspected SARS cases in the United States.
Alan Hoskin is one of the suspected SARS cases in the United States.

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(CNN) -- When doctors told Alan Hoskin of California that he might have SARS, he didn't believe it.

"I had the 'No, not me' reaction, but at the same time, I was concerned. I was scared for myself," he said.

Hoskin is now recovered from his illness, but his suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is one of dozens of U.S. cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been no U.S. deaths.

Hoskin traveled to China earlier this year for a 10-day trip. Within three days of his return home, he was coughing, sneezing and running a fever.

"I thought [it] was just a really bad flu virus that I picked up while I was over in China," Hoskin said, "something I was not accustomed to being exposed to."

After weeks of being sick, Hoskin said his family urged him to go to the hospital. Reports of a mystery illness spreading in Asia, along with a description of the symptoms, began to emerge in the media. The timeline coincided with Hoskin's visit and spurred his concern that he might have been exposed to the illness in China.

"While I was in my hotel, I received a massage from a lady there and she had the flu," Hoskin explained. "She had sniffles and she had a cough, and that was the only time I was exposed over there to anybody that I recall that was showing any symptoms of what could have been SARS."

Doctors are still working on developing definitive tests to confirm the SARS virus. For now, a SARS diagnosis remains dependent on clinical findings.

Hoskin had traveled to China to meet a friend and said worries over her safety and health trouble him.

"She has told me she's healthy, and she's fine and she is taking care of herself," Hoskin said. "But it scares me to death that she's over there and I can't get her out of there right now. I'd like to fly over there and grab her and bring her back and keep her safe."

While the United States has a relatively low number of probable cases at 39, North American infectious disease specialists said Monday that they were considering tightening travel restrictions to countries where SARS has become entrenched, in an effort to stem the spread. In Canada, 132 probable cases of SARS have been reported in Toronto, Ontario, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (Full story)

The disease has hit other countries more severely. To date, WHO has reported 3,947 cases worldwide, with 229 deaths. In China, where SARS is believed to have originated, the number of cases jumped by 157 Tuesday. (Full story)


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