Lab will check if the Filipina helper who died in Manila this week had the virus Blood samples from a Filipino domestic helper who worked in Hong Kong and died earlier this week from pneumonia and heart failure at a Manila hospital are being brought to Hong Kong to see if she had Sars, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said last night. The scare follows an incident in Taiwan in which a 12-year-old girl, who came down with fever two days after returning from Shanghai on July 5, was taken for hospital tests. Taiwan later said preliminary tests showed she did not have Sars. 'WHO are aware of the death of a Filipino domestic helper who came from Hong Kong and the child with fever in Taiwan who returned from Shanghai. Investigations are currently under way to determine the diagnosis in both cases,' said consultant epidemiologist, Jenean Spencer, of the Sars team at the WHO Western Pacific regional headquarters in Manila. 'These cases do raise concern and have been dealt with cautiously, despite the removal of both Hong Kong and Taiwan from the list of currently affected areas.' Experts said it would take at least two or three days before a Sars diagnosis could be eliminated because quick tests were notoriously inaccurate. More reliable antibody tests can only be conducted on the 20th day of an infection. The Filipina, Marilou Singue, 25, arrived from Hong Kong on July 6 already suffering from a 'dry cough' but passed temperature checks at the airport in the Philippines, said Marilu Lingad, a WHO spokeswoman in Manila. A week later, the woman was admitted to a hospital in Pangasinan, north of Manila, with a headache. A chest X-ray showed she had pneumonia. On July 16 she was discharged, even though she still had a persistent cough. On July 23, she had two seizures and was taken to a hospital in Quezon City in Manila. 'She had two cardiac arrests and was revived. On her way to the Regional Institute of Tropical Medicine, where she was being transferred, she died,' Ms Lingad said. The institute is where suspected Sars cases are taken for tests and isolation. 'There are no conclusions as lab tests of pre-mortem specimens have yet to be made,' she said. 'Specimens will be taken to a Hong Kong lab.' Dick Thompson, spokesman for the WHO's Communicable Disease and Surveillance Response in Geneva, said: 'For at least a full year, there must be continued high surveillance, quick segregation and thorough investigation of suspected Sars cases.' Visiting WHO virologist Masato Tashiro, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, warned last night that both Sars and the flu posed a major threat, underscoring the need for preparedness to prevent massive epidemics.