WASHINGTON, May 30, 2013 — There is a new SARS-like (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) may threaten the world. We’ve heard of this disease before but what is it and why is this strain so virulent? It is resistant to the most effect drugs available.
This virus is not a true SARS virus; it is a so-called coronavirus which initially acts like a common cold. Symptoms range from cough, fever, shortness of breath and gastro-intestinal symptoms that can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
The Mayo Clinic tells us that SARS is a contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory infection. This new infection is considered an epidemic but threatens to go pandemic of not contained. To date, half the infected people have perished.
SARS was considered a non-issue in recent years but now has reared its ugly head yet again and WHO considers this problem an international issue because no affected country can contain the virus on its own.
Science does not understand where this virus ‘hides’ or how people are getting infected or time period for incubation which raises alarm bells throughout the scientific community.
The recent SARS virus outbreak killed 774 people and sickened 8,000 before it was contained. This off-shoot virus is a mystery with unknown source. To date, this virus has been found in older men with other health issues and in animals.
Current urgent efforts are under way to stop this deadly strain including the anti-virals ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b which stopped the virus from replicating in the lab.
The virus has a name; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. If symptoms resembling a cold or flu begins to affect breathing with lung congestion and continues to worsen this is cause to visit a doctor in order to start on an anti-viral medication because if this virus is not checked, it may disrupt the immune system which is the only measure the body has in its arsenal to stop it from growing.
To date, there is no evidence the virus has affected anyone in the USA but if one has traveled from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries should be evaluated upon arriving to their point of origin.
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.
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