GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A World Health Organization (WHO) official in Geneva, Gregory Hartl, confirmed to Swiss news agency ats that a Saudi Arabian man died from a Sars-type virus that has also attacked a man from Qatar who is in critical condition in a London hospital. But the virus, says Hartl, WHO spokesperson for epidemic and pandemic diseases, is a distinctly different one from Sars, although they are in the same family.
Global appeal for reports of possible victims, but impact smaller than Sars
A worldwide appeal is being made for reports of anyone with symptoms of rapid renal failure and pneumonia.
It is far too early, he insists, to say much more: it is not yet known how the virus is transmitted, whether from animal to humans or from one human to another. The origin of it is not yet known, but the impact is far smaller than that of Sars, which spread rapidly and widely, infecting some 8,000 people when it broke out in 2003 and killing 750, according to the US National Library of Medicine, PubMed Health.
The new virus appears to have infected only two people in three months, according to the WHO.
“World Health Organization (WHO) physician Dr Carlo Urbani identified SARS as a new disease in 2003. He diagnosed it in a 48-year-old businessman who had traveled from the Guangdong province of China, through Hong Kong, to Hanoi, Vietnam. The businessman and the doctor who first diagnosed SARS both died from the illness,” says PubMed.