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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Mar. 25) - A Hanoi-based hospital worker traveling to France has been diagnosed as the first case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in France.

French officials say the infected man arrived in northern France on Sunday from Vietnam, where he is a medical worker at a French hospital in Hanoi.

Four staff members at the hospital have already died of the syndrome.

Eleven other people, who have recently returned to France from Asia and have shown SARS symptoms, are under observation.

The World Health Organisation says there are currently 456 known SARS cases from 13 countries. At least 17 people have died from the disease world wide, 10 of them in Hong Kong, four in Vietnam and three in Canada.

March 26, 2003

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