SARS-like virus confirmed on Qatari man
Previously healthy man had traveled to Saudi Arabia
Medical authorities have confirmed that a 49-year-old man from Qatar, who previously traveled to Saudi Arabia, has been diagnosed with a SARS-like virus. The previously healthy man has since been hospitalized, and has been diagnosed with a coronavirus, which is in the same family as SARS.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS erupted in China in late 2002 and spread to a number of countries, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing about 775 before it disappeared in mid 2003.
Authorities are now hunting for cases of a mysterious viral respiratory illness that killed at least another person in Saudi Arabia.
A statement by the World Health Organization says that on September 7, the man was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar. He was transferred to Great Britain on September 11 by air ambulance from Qatar.
He is being treated for acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure.
The Health Protection Agency then compared the sequencing of the virus isolate from the Qatari national with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
"This latter isolate was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60-year-old Saudi national and this comparison indicated 99.5 percent identity, with one nucleotide mismatch over the regions compared," the WHO statement said.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that include everything from the common cold to SARS.
"Given that this is a novel coronavirus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications of these two confirmed cases," the statement said.
Saudi officials identified a third case of a person who died, but didn't give further details. The World Health Organization said it was a suspect case that can't be confirmed postmortem.
The U.K.'s Health Protection Agency said it was investigating the case of a person from the Middle East who died in the U.K.
"There is no evidence at present to suggest that it is caused by the same virus or linked to the other two cases," the HPA said, adding that it was "aware of a small number of other cases of serious respiratory illness in the Middle East in the past three months."
The cases come a month ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia's health ministry played down the threat. "Such occasions are rare . and there is no cause for concern," the health ministry said.
With no indication yet whether the new virus is like SARS, which spread from person to person, officials are tracking this new virus closely.
"There is way too little information," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said. "We don't know if the denominator is two cases or 20,000 cases. We don't know how it is transmitted."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: SARS, Qatar, U.K. coronaviruses, World Health Organization
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- HIV resurgent among Navajo tribe as deadly cases spike
- UK to give cancer patients genetic analysis just like Angelina Jolie
- Vitamin D found beneficial in treating asthma symptoms
- Study: Depressed women in 40s, 50s suffer more than twice for stroke risk
- Some experts say it's biologically possible to clone a human
- Study: Women live longer than men as their immune systems age more slowly
- Man declared dead for 40 minutes brought back to life with revolutionary machine
- IPad2 poses risks to those with pacemakers, 14-year-old girl discovers
- New SARS-like virus can likely be spread person-to-person
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?