doctors in hong kong identify killer virus
tue march 18, 2003 08:10 pm et
hong kong (reuters) - doctors in hong kong have made a major breakthrough in identifying a deadly pneumonia virus which has killed about 10 people and left hundreds ill around the world, which will make it easier to treat, the standard newspaper reported on wednesday.
the paper quoted scientists as saying that the virus that has afflicted victims in hong kong belongs to the paramyxoviridae family.
asked if the discovery meant there was a greater hope for a cure for the highly contagious disease, professor john tam at the prince of wales hospital said it affirmed that current treatments given to patients had been the right choice.
but he added more tests needed to be done.
doctors have been using a combination of anti-viral drugs and steroids to treat patients here, but not all have responded positively.
scientists around the world have been working around the clock to trace the deadly disease to dozens of different bacteria and viruses, but had found no strong clues on what it was. many suspected it was something they have not seen before.
most of the infections are in populous hong kong, where 123 people are ill and two are reported to have died. vietnam has reported 57 cases and one death, while singapore has 23 sick people. two patients also died in canada.
doctors in germany said they were treating three people with the illness, including a 32-year-old doctor from singapore and his pregnant wife. the physician had treated some of the first pneumonia cases in the island republic.
world health organisation experts are expected to arrive in china soon to determine if the pneumonia is linked with an outbreak of respiratory disease that began in southern china in november and has struck more than 300 people, killing five.
suspected cases have been reported in australia, britain, spain and the united states. on tuesday the u.s. revised the number of possible cases to nine from 14.
the illness begins with a high fever and dry cough that can lead to breathing difficulties and force the use of a respirator.
despite the growing number of suspected and confirmed cases, precautions taken when treating people suspected of having the illness have limited the number of new cases. most cases have been in health workers or people with close contact to those who are ill.
hopefully they will be able to get this situation under control.....
Mar 19, '03
We need a shorter nickname for this, such as we have the word "flu," for example. Maybe "PMV."
Last edit by sjoe on Mar 23, '03