The restaurant employee might have been infected by civet cats at work A worker in a Guangzhou restaurant who is recovering from pneumonia has tested positive for Sars antibodies - indicating she has been exposed to the viral disease - sources said last night. If the woman is confirmed to have caught Sars, hers would be the second community-acquired case this year. On Monday, doctors confirmed a 32-year-old freelance television producer from Panyu in Guangdong had caught Sars. Officials yesterday said the man had 'fully recovered' and would be discharged from Guangzhou's No8 People's Hospital tomorrow. A senior medical source told the South China Morning Post: 'Preliminary antibody tests on the woman gave a positive result. It may mean that she has a recent infection or she has been exposed to the [Sars] coronavirus before. It will take another 10 days to compare her antibody levels to confirm if it is a Sars case or not.' The source said several civet cats were found in the restaurant, adding: 'The worker could have been infected through contact with those wild animals while at work.' After the first Sars outbreak last year, the Guangdong Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested 508 wild-animal traders working in markets in Guangzhou, and found 13 per cent carried antibodies to the coronavirus. On Monday, health authorities said the woman, who works in a seafood restaurant, was being given the necessary medical attention and people she had come into close contact with were being monitored. They said she was recovering from pneumonia and had not had a fever for several days, and that her close contacts had shown no fever symptoms. Reports have said her 24 co-workers have been in quarantine since Friday. University of Hong Kong tests showed the genetic sequence of the virus in samples taken from the television producer was almost identical to that found in civet cats. The findings suggest a new strain of the Sars virus could have jumped from civet cats to humans. At least seven of the people who caught Sars in the early stages of the first outbreak in Guangdong had contact with wild animals. Apart from civet cats, scientists are also investigating whether rats play a role in transmitting Sars. The Guangdong CDC has tested several hundred rats caught in Riverside Garden, Panyu, where the television producer lives, and two tested positive for the Sars virus. The patient told Xinhua he had caught a few rats in his bathtub. 'They were ... so small that they could not get out of the bathtub,' he said. 'I didn't want to kill them so I threw them out of the house. I also got rid of the chopsticks.' A Guangdong official said: 'There are lots of rats at the estate; we have already ordered a complete cleansing at the site.' The patient said he had neither eaten nor been in contact with masked palm civet cats and had not travelled beyond Guangzhou in the past few months. He said his girlfriend, who lives with him, had not shown any fever symptoms.