Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by nayray, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. nayray

    nayray New Member

    I don't know if you guys have been keeping up with this "mystery virus" from Hong Kong or not...but I was just reading this article and near the very end they hypothosize that it could be one virus that attacks the immune system and then the second virus that moves in for the kill.... interesting reading and thought I'd share:

    Tuesday, March 25, 2003
    WHO Studies How Mystery Disease Spreads

    HONG KONG (AP) - Concerns grew Tuesday about how the new
    flu-like disease coursing through this city spreads, with
    passengers on an airplane and school children becoming ill.
    The World Health Organization again said air travel is safe, but
    its scientists are looking closely at Hong Kong's growing number of
    cases to see if early theories on the contagiousness of the disease
    hold true.
    In recent weeks the disease has spread beyond hospitals, where
    dozens of health care workers became infected, to schools, with at
    least four schools closed for several days.
    Hong Kong officials also said Tuesday that nine tourists
    apparently came down with the deadly disease after a mainland
    Chinese man infected them on a March 15 Air China flight to
    If severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, can be more
    easily spread through the air - rather than through close contact
    with infected people, it could force travel and other restrictions
    to contain the disease.
    ``We would want to be sure that it was people sitting next to
    that person and not the ventilation system in the airplane which
    was spreading the disease,'' said Dr. David Heymann, head of
    communicable diseases at WHO. ``We have no evidence of the latter
    right now.''
    For one thing, he said, health investigators have followed
    thousands of passengers who flew with SARS-infected travelers and
    did not become sick.
    However, he said that if they find there are cases that did not
    involve close contact with someone sick or at high risk, ``we will
    then be very concerned that this might have become airborne.''
    The airplane cases seem similar to how the disease got its start
    here - from one hotel guest who spread it to six strangers staying
    on the same floor. One expert theorized it might have spread
    through the air-conditioning system.
    From the Hong Kong hotel, the exposed tourists took the disease
    to Singapore, Vietnam and Canada.
    The disease has spread most rapidly through Asian hospitals,
    some of which lacked the surgical masks and goggles needed to
    prevent catching the disease from patients. WHO has been
    distributing such equipment.
    The U.S. State Department has warned citizens not to travel to
    Vietnam because it lacks medical facilities to deal with the
    disease. In Hong Kong, SARS has spread to 10 hospitals, and the
    Hong Kong health secretary is hospitalized with SARS-like symptoms.
    Hong Kong reported 26 new cases Tuesday, bringing its total to
    286 - more than half the worldwide total of 487. Ten of the world's
    17 SARS deaths since Feb. 1 have been in Hong Kong.
    In the United States, 39 people have the disease, and the U.S.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 32 of those had
    traveled to Asia. The others were health-care workers or family
    members of infected patients.
    In Singapore, that government has ordered 740 people who may
    have been exposed to the illness to stay home for 10 days or risk
    stiff fines.
    Meanwhile, a WHO team is in mainland China trying to figure out
    if the atypical pneumonia that sickened more than 300 and killed
    five in Guangdong province is the same disease.
    Officials with WHO and the CDC said Monday that SARS may be
    caused by a new form of the coronavirus, one of a few viruses that
    can cause the common cold.
    The coronavirus had been found in SARS patient specimens by
    scientists at Hong Kong University and by the CDC. But more
    research confirming that is being pursued.
    There is no government-approved treatment for the common cold or
    SARS, but CDC head Dr. Julie Gerberding said the Defense Department
    is testing the virus against all known antiviral drugs. There has
    been progress with antivirals against other respiratory viruses and
    some of those drugs have been effective in studies against some
    coronaviruses, she said.
    However, WHO virologist Dr. Klaus Stohr, who is working with the
    agency's network of 11 global labs, said researchers in some labs
    continue to find signs of another germ family, the paramyxovirus.
    ``We are a bit puzzled because we are not only dealing
    apparently with one pathogen but with two. The reason why we
    believe that both pathogens should be given equal attention is that
    there is consistent finding of both pathogens in individual
    patients or of either of the pathogens in other patients,'' he
    ``What we are seeing actually are three hypotheses.''
    SARS might be caused by one of those two viruses or ``these two
    pathogens have to come together to cause this very severe
    The latter theory is that the coronavirus - which Stohr said
    lives in immune cells that fight off disease - destroys or weakens
    the immunity in the patient so the second virus ``has practically
    an open door to go in and to sicken the patient beyond what this
    virus would be able to do normally.
    ``But more research is being done to verify that.''