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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Mystery illness spreads

HONG KONG — Adding to fears that a deadly flu-like illness is being spread by air travelers, Hong Kong officials said Tuesday nine tourists apparently came down with the deadly disease after another passenger infected them on a flight to Beijing.
The World Health Organization insisted air travel is safe but said its scientists are investigating each case to make sure the disease is not spread through ventilation.
In recent weeks severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, has spread beyond hospitals, where dozens of health care workers became infected, into at least one workplace, to air travelers and some schools have been closed as a precaution.
Hong Kong officials said the nine tourists became sick after a mainland Chinese man with SARS infected them on a March 15 Air China flight to Beijing.
If SARS can be more easily spread through the air — rather than by close contact with infected people who cough or sneeze — it could force travel and other restrictions to contain the disease.
“We would want to be sure that it was people sitting next to that person and not the ventilation system in the airplane which was spreading the disease,” said Dr. David Heymann, head of communicable diseases at WHO. “We have no evidence of the latter right now.”
For one thing, he said, health investigators have followed thousands of passengers who flew with SARS-infected travelers and did not become sick.
However, he said that if they find there are cases that did not involve close contact with someone sick or at high risk, “we will then be very concerned that this might have become airborne.”
The airplane cases seem similar to how the disease got its start here — from one hotel guest who spread it to six stranger staying on the same floor. One expert theorized it might have spread through the air-conditioning system.
From the Hong Kong hotel, the exposed tourists took the disease to Singapore, Vietnam and Canada.
The disease has spread most rapidly through Asian hospitals, some of which lacked the surgical masks and goggles needed to prevent catching the disease from patients. WHO has been distributing such equipment.
The U.S. State Department has warned citizens not to travel to Vietnam because it lacks medical facilities to deal with the disease.

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