Breaking News Bar
posted: 10/1/2012 6:00 AM

WHO urges doctors to watch for new SARS-like virus

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
Associated Press

LONDON -- Global health officials have alerted doctors to be on the lookout for a virus related to SARS but said there were no signs the disease was behaving like the respiratory syndrome that killed hundreds in 2003.

The World Health Organization has announced a new coronavirus had been found in a critically ill Qatari man who was being treated in London as well as in a Saudi Arabian man who died several months earlier. Genetic sequencing found the viruses in the two men to be nearly identical.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The two men might have been infected directly by animals, however, and there was no proof of human-to-human spread of the virus, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said.

"This is not SARS, it is a new virus and very distinct from SARS," he said. "There are still a lot of unanswered questions, so we cannot predict what might happen."

Hartl said WHO could not elaborate on the men's cases until investigations by national authorities were finished.

The new coronavirus is from a family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed about 800 people, mostly in Asia in a 2003 epidemic.

SARS jumped to people from civet cats and then mutated into a form easily spread among humans.

Unlike SARS, the new virus also causes rapid kidney failure, a complication not usually seen in respiratory viruses. In London, the Qatari patient is in critical but stable condition and is being treated with an artificial lung machine.

Hartl said WHO is monitoring reports of suspect cases but none have so far been confirmed. Britain's Health Protection Agency said a small number of potential cases were being evaluated. Last week, Danish authorities ruled out a handful of cases.

WHO also issued a case definition for the new virus to help doctors spot cases early. The agency advised them to investigate any patients hospitalized with acute respiratory syndrome not explained by other causes who had close contact with probable cases or had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia or Qatar.

Saudi officials said they were concerned that the next month's annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage -- which brings millions to Saudi Arabia -- could allow the virus to spread.

As a precautionary measure, they advised pilgrims to keep their hands clean and wear masks in crowded places.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.