No need to panic about SARS

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The new SARS-like virus is likely not 28-days later material

The deadly outbreak of SARS-CoV that started in 2002 and lasted until 2004 was put to an end due to medical treatment and prevention of spreading, but could a new strain develop? Currently there has been a new virus found in two British men that seems to have originated in Saudi Arabia, where both men had traveled before contracting the virus. Yet the actual origination of the virus is yet to be announced. A 60-year-old man was pronounced dead in Saudi Arabia due to this new virus, while another 49-year-old man is in intensive care at a hospital in London, England being treated by specialists.

The World Health Organization says virus samples from the patient in London are nearly identical to those of the 60-year-old man who died earlier this year in Saudi Arabia. Currently the transmission of the virus is being looked into. It is unclear yet if it is transmitted from animals to people, as was the SARS-CoV. This was transmitted between civet cats and humans, leading it to adapt to an air transmittable virus between people. Civet cats, otherwise known as fishing cats, are known as a delicacy among the Chinese, leading to the SARS-CoV outbreak originating in southern China. The high traffic of tourist between China and the rest of the world resulted in a worldwide outbreak, claiming 774 lives while infecting over 8,000.  

So far, none of the staff or other individuals to have contact with the man in London has contracted the new virus. As a precaution, people should use protective measures such as washing hands with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water and not available. Remember to cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and clean any equipment or services that are frequently shared or used by others.

Currently, this SARS-like virus does not look like a major threat, but there is always a possibility it could adapt, considering that germs such as these are always changing. These are the only two confirmed cases to be found; others are being looked into. This SARS-like virus may have been caught in time and treated before it had a chance to cause a worldwide outbreak like the true SARS virus back in 2002.

As the situation currently stands, there is no reason to panic or start stocking up on sanitizers. Just be clean and if you are sick, devolving a cough, runny nose, or any other symptom of illness, go to a doctor. Better safe than sorry. Many of these cases go undiagnosed because they are mistaken as a common cold until symptoms get worse. Also, if you are developing symptoms such as a cold, try to stay away from people. You don’t have to completely isolate yourself – you can still text, talk, and email others – but try to avoid crowded areas or meeting with friends in public places to prevent spreading the virus. And most of all, don’t panic.

Raenna Gohm
Contributor

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