Virus similar to Sars has been detected
A virus akin to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been identified in a person who that is undergoing medical treatment in Britain.
The 49-year-old gentleman is the second person who has been confirmed with the virus. The first person with the illness died from its affects in Saudi Arabia.
The illness is a coronavirus; similar to SARS and the common cold. Similarities to SARS have caused great concern in the medical community, though experts have assured that this new virus is not nearly aggressive.
SARS was a virus that attacked the respiratory system. From its outbreak in 2002, SARS infected people in 37 different countries and threatened to become a pandemic. It caused 8,422 infections that resulted in 916 deaths worldwide before being contained.
Professor John Oxford, an expert in viruses from Queen Mary University of London, said, “SARS was very quick off the mark infecting hospital staff etc. and this new virus does not to me appear to be in the same 'big bang' group.”
Despite this, health organisers are not taking the new virus for granted. The Health Protection Agency (HPA), an independent organisation in the UK dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the public, is calling for a high level of sustained vigilance.
Head of the HPA’s respiratory diseases department, Professor John Watson, said, “In the light of the severity of the illness that has been identified in the two confirmed cases, immediate steps have been taken to ensure that people who have been in contact with the UK case have not been infected.”