Saturday, March 15, 2003
Worrisome news today: WHO has released information about a serious atypical pneumonia which seems to be originating in Asia. It's not known yet whether this illness is viral or bacterial in origin.
15 March 2003 | GENEVA -- During the past week, WHO has received reports of more than 150 new suspected cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an atypical pneumonia for which cause has not yet been determined. Reports to date have been received from Canada, China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Early today, an ill passenger and companions who travelled from New York, United States, and who landed in Frankfurt, Germany were removed from their flight and taken to hospital isolation.
Due to the spread of SARS to several countries in a short period of time, the World Health Organization today has issued emergency guidance for travellers and airlines.
�This syndrome, SARS, is now a worldwide health threat,� said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General of the World Health Organization. �The world needs to work together to find its cause, cure the sick, and stop its spread.�
There is presently no recommendation for people to restrict travel to any destination. However in response to enquiries from governments, airlines, physicians and travellers, WHO is now offering guidance for travellers, airline crew and airlines. The exact nature of the infection is still under investigation and this guidance is based on the early information available to WHO.
The latest news is that there have been nine deaths due to this illness.