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Dead Man Tests Negative for SARS

June 24, 2003

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ A man who died this month after possibly being exposed to a co-worker with SARS did not have the disease, health officials said Monday.

James Reed, who died June 13, worked in the same building as a man who became sick with SARS after traveling to Toronto. Health officials had said that Reed died from heart failure and pneumonia.

Test results from the federal Centers for Disease Control confirmed that Reed did not have severe acute respiratory syndrome, said Dr. Leah Devlin, the state health director.

Public health officials had doubted that the two men, who had overlapping work hours on three successive days last month in a building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had the kind of close contact necessary to pass along a SARS infection. Also, the SARS patient did not have symptoms while he was at work; worldwide, SARS has been shown to be contagious only when an infected person shows symptoms.

Since SARS emerged in southern China in November, the contagious lung disease has killed more than 800 worldwide. Toronto has been the epicenter of the biggest SARS outbreak outside Asia.

Update hourly