Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WHO raises doomsday alarm about new SARS-like virus in Middle East; CNN makes the question personal

CNN got rather blunt with a headline on its strike page, “Should I be concerned about new virus?”, link here?  
WHO has been saying it is a threat to the entire World.  But there are no travel warnings. No particular precautions. 
So far, 55% of the about 45 people infected have died.  Health care workers in the middle East seem to have gotten it from patients, and a few close contacts in the UK got it from family returning from the Middle East.  
What’s curious is that the virus would emerge in Saudi Arabia, with its strict gender segregation which would facilitate social distancing, something we don’t want to see necessary in the US.
The natural reservoir may be bats. 
Some coronaviruses cause only colds in humans, hard to distinguish from the common cold.  But a very few can cause severe pneumonia and kidney and other organ damage.  MERV-CorV seems even more virulent than SARS was in China in 2003, although that may be hard to say so far.   

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