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World Health Organization Issues Rare Health Alert!!!

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Jeff, Mar 15, 2003.

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  1. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    WHO Issues Health Alert!!!

    :eek:

    <i>New York Times
    March 16, 2003

    Rare Health Alert Is Issued by W.H.O. for Mystery Illness
    By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN and KEITH BRADSHER

    As a mysterious respiratory illness spread to more countries, the World Health Organization today issued a rare health alert, declaring the ailment "a worldwide health threat" and urged all countries to help in seeking its cause and control.

    The agency said that in the last week it had received reports of more than 150 new suspected cases of the illness, now known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. The syndrome has caused at least six deaths and not one of the survivors has fully recovered. It apparently does not respond to antiviral and antibiotic drugs.

    The cause has not been identified. Scientists do not know whether it is a virus or even an infectious agent. Although health officials have suspected avian influenza, which has infected a small number of people sporadically in Hong Kong since 1997, laboratory tests have not detected that rare strain, known as influenza A(H5N1). As a result, laboratory scientists are focusing on the possibility of a previously unknown infectious agent.

    Reported cases have come from Canada and six countries in Asia — Hong Kong and elsewhere in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the health organization said.

    There have been no reports of the illness in the United States. But today, an ill passenger and two companions who traveled from New York City were removed from a flight after it arrived in Frankfurt and put in isolation in a German hospital.

    The passenger is a surgeon from Singapore who treated one of the earliest cases there, and who flew to a medical meeting in New York City, said Dick Thompson, a spokesman for W.H.O. The surgeon may have gone to a hospital in New York — the agency is not certain which one — before flying back to Singapore via Frankfurt with his wife and another doctor. Before boarding the flight, the surgeon called a colleague in Singapore to describe his symptoms, and the colleague notified the World Health Organization.

    In an emergency advisory issued today, the World Health Organization, an arm of the United Nations based in Geneva, said that "there is presently no indication to restrict travel to any destination."

    But it urged all travelers to be aware of the main symptoms and signs. In addition to the breathing problems, the illness can cause a dry cough and other flulike symptoms that apparently develop about four to five days after exposure. They usually start with a sudden onset of high fever and go on to include muscle aches, headache, sore throat and shortness of breath.

    Standard lab tests often show low numbers of white blood cells and platelets, which help blood to clot.

    W.H.O. said that any passenger or airline crew member who developed such symptoms should immediately seek medical attention and ensure that information about their recent travel is passed on to the health care staff. "Any traveler who develops these symptoms is advised not to undertake further travel until they have recovered," the agency said.

    If a passenger became ill on a flight, the agency asked airlines to alert the airport of destination and to refer any ill passengers to airport health officials.

    "There are currently no indications to restrict the onward travel of well passengers, but all passengers and crew should be advised to seek medical attention if they develop" symptoms, the agency said.

    In another rare step, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its emergency operations center in Atlanta, including sophisticated communications technology, to enhance its ability to coordinate information from other countries and to investigate any suspect cases in this country.

    C.D.C. has used the operations center only twice before, for the mosquito-borne West Nile fever epidemic last year and the anthrax attacks in 2001. The last time it issued a global health alert was in 1993, to enhance measures to control tuberculosis. W.H.O. officials said they could not recall the last time an emergency global travel advisory was issued.

    C.D.C. is investigating the travel histories of the passengers who are now in a German hospital as well as one of the eight cases suspected to be the new syndrome in Toronto and Vancouver that Canadian health officials reported on Friday.

    W.H.O. officials said they at first thought the surgeon who fell ill was on a flight to London, but learned from a pharmaceutical company that paid for his trip that he was flying to Frankfurt instead. Two hours before landing, W.H.O. notified German health officials, who had the plane moved to a separate runway where the surgeon, his wife and colleague disembarked and were taken to a nearby hospital. German health officials advised the other passengers to monitor their health and gave them a telephone number to call if they developed any symptoms. Officials did not release any information on his condition.

    Mr. Thompson said the cases in Toronto involved a family who returned home after flying to Hong Kong. A woman, Kwan Sui-chu, died shortly after her return. Five other family members who had not been to Hong Kong have since become ill; four are still in the hospital while the fifth, Mrs. Kwan's son, Chi Kwai Tse, died on March 13, according to Toronto Public Health officials.

    Toronto health officials said they were aware of two other cases in Vancouver, British Columbia, both involving people who had recently traveled to Hong Kong.

    C.D.C. officials are aiding in the investigation because Mrs. Kwan's daughter, who is being treated in an intensive care unit in Toronto, had flown to Atlanta recently, Mr. Thompson said.

    So far, laboratory scientists have not been able to identify a known or novel infectious agent, said Dr. David L. Heymann, a W.H.O. official.

    Japanese officials said their tests showed that the influenza virus was not the cause of the illness. But Dr. Heymann said that samples from more victims need to be tested, because it can take weeks for the immune system to produce influenza antibodies, the proteins that are formed to fight invading microbes.

    "We have not ruled out influenza definitively," Dr. Heymann said.

    Tests of victims' samples have found no evidence of mycoplasma or similar microbes that are the usual causes of atypical pneumonia. Additional tests have shown no evidence of Ebola or any of the other viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers, hanta virus and bacteria.

    In Hong Kong, an American businessman died on Thursday after passing through Hong Kong and falling ill in Hanoi, where 30 doctors and other medical personnel have fallen ill at the hospital where the businessman was initially treated before being sent back to Hong Kong.

    today, Hong Kong's secretary for health and welfare, Dr. Yeoh Eng-kiong, denied that the Chinese territory was experiencing a serious public health problem. Dr. Yeoh said that the outbreak in Hong Kong remained almost entirely confined to hospital workers and had not spread to the general community.</i>
     
  2. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    1918 was the last great influenza pandemic.
     
  3. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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  4. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    This sounds very bad. Keep your fingers crossed.
     
  5. sinohero

    sinohero Member

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    Rumors had been spreading in Southern China since the beginning of this year. The Chinese government quickly followed with a coverup operation.
     
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    The good news is that it seems only to be spread in direct contact rather than it being airborne.
     
  7. Pole

    Pole Houston Rockets--Tilman Fertitta's latest mess.

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    Now would be a good time to curl up with a nice book like The Stand, by Stephen King.
     
  8. Behad

    Behad Contributing Member

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    Good choice, great book. Be prepared to curl for awhile...1200 pages.
     
  9. fatfatcow

    fatfatcow Member

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    the government said is some kind of pneumonia.
    i was at the hospital yesterday n almost everybody wear a mask fear of catching the disease, i didnt wear one tho. this is a very hot topic in hk everybody talk about it everybody fear of catching it ......
     
  10. fatfatcow

    fatfatcow Member

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    shut da hell up!
     
  11. sosorox

    sosorox Member

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    The 1918 flu killed more people then the Great War. Isn't The Stand about this flu?
     
  12. sinohero

    sinohero Member

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    Look, just because the Chinese government uses censorship to death doesn't mean you can stop me from talking.

    Geez, it really feels like talking to a cow with this guy.
     
  13. sinohero

    sinohero Member

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    Thread matter: I think this might be really serious, rumor in Guangzhou (Canton) last month stated that more than 250 people died of this. The number might be exaggerated, with no credible media reporting outside of official press releases, however, the disease now has spread to cities far north like Shanghai, causing widespread panic buying of flu medicine and vinegar, thought to be able to kill germs.



    U.S. Monitoring Deadly Pneumonia Outbreak in Asia

    By Paul Simao

    ATLANTA (Reuters) - U.S. health officials said on Saturday they had joined a worldwide battle to stamp out a mysterious and deadly new form of pneumonia that emerged in Asia and is spreading into Europe and North America.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had alerted health authorities throughout the United States to watch for signs of severe respiratory syndrome, a virulent strain of what is known as atypical pneumonia.

    The Atlanta-based federal agency also has assigned eight of its scientists to assist in a global investigation by the World Health Organization, which issued a warning about the outbreak last Wednesday.

    More than 150 people have contracted the fast-spreading pneumonia in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Several people have died, including two members of a Canadian family who traveled to Hong Kong and an American businessman taken ill in Hanoi after visiting Shanghai.

    A handful of other cases have been reported in Europe and Canada, although none have been confirmed in the United States. The CDC said it was investigating reports that two people passing through Atlanta and New York may have been infected.

    "We are thoroughly investigating, and we will be taking aggressive steps to reach those who have traveled to the affected areas (in Asia)," Dr. Julie Gerberding, the director of the CDC, told reporters in a weekend conference call.

    The cause of the outbreak is unknown though it resembles a wave of pneumonia-like illnesses that caused hundreds of people to become sick in southern China's Guangdong province in mid-February.

    'OPEN MIND' ON SOURCE OF DISEASE

    Symptoms include a fever above 100.4 Fahrenheit and respiratory problems such as coughing and shortness of breath. Many of those infected have been health care workers treating infected patients.

    Gerberding said there was no evidence linking the pneumonia cases to any form of influenza, including the recent emergence of "bird flu" in Hong Kong, or to a bioterrorist attack.

    She did, however, add that the agency was keeping an "open mind" and would not rule out any possibilities until further investigation.

    Top CDC officials and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson were criticized in 2001 for reacting slowly to an outbreak of deadly anthrax bacteria linked to contaminated letters sent to U.S. media organizations and politicians in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Five people died from the anthrax attacks.

    On Saturday, Thompson said he was consulting regularly with top ranking officials from the WHO and China to determine how to prepare for the possibility of atypical pneumonia spreading to the United States.

    "This is a situation that is evolving very quickly," Thompson told reporters by telephone before boarding a flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

    "We are doing everything humanly possible to learn what is causing this outbreak, how to treat patients and how to prevent the spread to others," Thompson said.

    U.S. health officials said it was particularly important that travelers returning from Southeast Asia alert their doctors if they developed high fevers, breathing difficulties and other symptoms of the disease.

    But they also recommended against using antibiotics or anti-viral drugs prophylactically against the disease, which appears to have an incubation period of between two to seven days.
     
  14. chinawang

    chinawang Member

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    Yes, 250 people is exaggerated. I am from china. I know the truth , Just rumor!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The government said the number is 5 , The event had died down, people forgot it gradually! flu medicine had reached its normal price!
     
  15. sinohero

    sinohero Member

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    Just curious, Mr. Wang. Which part of China are you from? And where did people hear the rumor in the first place?

    Just want to know
     
  16. chinawang

    chinawang Member

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    I am from FUJIAN£¬nearby to GUANGDONG province£¬my friends worked or studied there told me!
    By now, there are few peoples in china infected except GUANGDONG£¬In FUJIAN, none was infected!
     
  17. fatfatcow

    fatfatcow Member

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    i mean i dunno if u are chinese or not , but what this thread title has to do with the rumor of the chinese governemtn covering up has to do with the topic? do u know what happan, u dunt! a man in hongkong died after he visit fukine province, the sar government said the origin is from mainland , while mainland said its from hongkong!
    is that what u wnat people to believe n know yes china sux, united states is the best, dont go to china.... well that;s good cuz peoples like u are not welcome.
    i wish u are not chinese cuz u are making me sick , i really hate bannana chinese whos trying to be white n blend in to the society by bashing their own culture n government!
     
  18. sinohero

    sinohero Member

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    Thanks Tianan! However, be careful, since no infection in Fujian yet doesn't mean it would never spread there. Take care of yourself and friends. Some of my Fujian friends here are worried as well. Good luck!
     
  19. chinawang

    chinawang Member

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    Many thanks to sinohero.

    Since it is difficult to cure, Everyone should be careful, include your country. right?
     
  20. sinohero

    sinohero Member

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    I am as Chinese as we come. I grew up in China and came to the US during high school. I still consider myself Chinese.

    Therefore SINO-hero.
     
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