The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning about a SARS-like virus. Recent findings indicate that the new SARS-like virus may be passed by bats, but scientists are not ruling out exposure from camels or goats. Like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the new virus causes debilitating damage to the human respiratory system. Unlike SARS, research indicates the new virus is not as easily spread by human-to-human contact, making it slightly easier to isolate and avoid. Researchers expect a less damaging population effect than the 2003 SARS outbreak, which killed hundreds of people worldwide. However, with an upcoming pilgrimage by Muslims to Mecca, Saudi Arabian officials are warning people to keep their hands clean, and wear face masks for protection. Just a few months ago, the new virus took a Saudi man’s life, and currently has a Qatari national fighting for his. Both cases appear to be individual instances of exposure to infected bats. Both men had spent time in Saudi Arabia, however, these are the only two reported cases of the virus in the region. Health advisers continue to caution Saudi visitors, and citizens, to remain aware of potential animal carriers. While it is not expected that human spread will be responsible for new cases, health officials do advise the use of caution. Following simple steps such as carrying an alcohol based hand sanitizer
, and wearing a face mask, or respirator mask
, are excellent ways to prevent the spread of respiratory conditions.
Sources: Time Healthland - http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/28/animals-thought-to-spread-new-sars-like-virus/ CNN World - http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/26/the-looming-zoonotic-danger/ CBS News - http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57522223/middle-east-sars-like-mystery-virus-may-come-from-animals/