SARS-Like Virus Cases Climb: Tenth Person Infected

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Last September, a Qatari man was diagnosed with a respiratory illness similar to the SARS virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this 49-year old man was the second person confirmed to have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

Today, another person has been found with this virus, thereby becoming the 10th person globally since September to have contracted the virus. Five of these patients have since died from the disease.

Additionally, this is the second case to have been found in the UK since last September. According to the BBC, the British patient is under intensive care at a Manchester hospital. The patient is suspected to have picked up the SARS-like disease while traveling in Pakistan.

As this is only the second case to hit the UK in 5 months, doctors are saying the risk of this coronavirus spreading to the rest of the UK is “extremely low.” Nevertheless, British health officials are closely monitoring the situation to ensure the health and safety of its citizens.

This new SARS-like virus shares some of the symptoms associated with this highly dangerous respiratory disease. The SARS coronavirus first appeared in China in 2002, killing one of every ten people who contracted the illness. All told, more than 800 infected people died from the disease. SARS victims often experience difficulty breathing, coughing, run a high fever and experience severe respiratory illness.

Since the first recognized new case of this virus cropped up last September, most (5 cases) have occurred in patients from the Middle East. Three of these patients were treated in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan.

Britain´s Health Protection Agency (HPA) has now stepped in to provide the Manchester hospital in question with proper advice on how to appropriately treat this second British patient as well as tips on how to protect the staff from infection.

“Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travelers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low,” said the HPA in a statement.

As the HPA feels there is a low risk of the public contracting this disease, there have been no travel restrictions set in place.

Additionally, the WHO has said they´ve seen no evidence which suggests this new virus spreads easily from person to person.

Yet, doctors are suggesting that anyone traveling to Saudi Arabia or nearby areas take extreme precaution.

This latest breed of the SARS-like virus carries similar symptoms and can be spread in the same way. People can also contract this new virus in much the same way they can catch the flu– either from coming in contact with an infected person or their surroundings.

The HPA suggests that anyone who develops a severe respiratory illness which lasts longer than 10 days, especially after traveling to Saudi Arabia, should seek medical attention immediately.

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