The Wall Street Journal (9/25, A14, McKay, Subscription Publication) reports that health officials around the world are now looking for cases of a coronavirus related to the virus behind severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This new virus has caused one fatality already in Saudi Arabia. Another man from Qatar who spent time in Saudi Arabia is now fighting for his life in a hospital in the UK.
The Los Angeles Times (9/24, Alpert) "World Now" blog reported, "The new virus is different than any previously identified in humans, the British Health Protection Agency said. Health officials are still investigating where it came from and how it is spread; similar viruses are typically passed when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes." At least "so far, there is no evidence that the two infected people passed the virus to other people they were in contact with, including healthcare workers, the British agency said."
The AP (9/25, Cheng) reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) "said virus samples from the patient are almost identical to those of a 60-year-old Saudi national who died earlier this year. The agency...said the source of infection remains unknown. Still, the situation has raised concerns ahead of next month's annual Hajj pilgrimage, which brings millions of people to Saudi Arabia from around the world."
Bloomberg News (9/24, Khan, Bennett) quoted a statement from the WHO, which read, "WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications of these two confirmed cases." The statement added, "With respect to these findings, WHO does not recommend any travel restrictions."
The CNN (9/25, Falco) "The Chart" blog reports that both patients "had the same symptoms, severe respiratory illness-like pneumonia and kidney failure." The virus "more closely resembles the SARS virus which sickened 8,000 people and killed 774 between 2002 and 2003, than a cold virus," but "doesn't seem to behave like SARS did." For example, even though SARS patients suffer from severe respiratory illness, the two patients with the newly identified coronavirus have kidney failure, a condition not seen in patients with SARS.
The Time (9/25, Park) "Healthland" blog reports that based on the world's 2003 experience with SARS, "doctors have learned that treating infected patients quickly with antibiotics and providing respiratory support can help in controlling a coronavirus infection." However, "because the new virus was identified only recently -- the Qatari man first showed signs of illness on Sept. 3 -- health officials still can't fully predict how bad symptoms of the new disease will be, or why some people may become severely ill and even die, while others recover."