Mystery Illness Continues to Baffle Scientists - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/24/03

Mystery Illness Continues to Baffle Scientists

The latest on the mystery illness is a little discouraging. Scientists abroad had suspected Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS was from the parymyxl family of viruses, but CDC researchers say they've found no evidence to support that.

Which means, this weird bug that has sickened hundreds is still a big mystery. So far, there are 419 international cases of SARS, with 247 of those in Hong Kong alone, and 39 cases now in the United States. Despite 17 deaths so far, experts at the Centers for Disease Control are trying to stir awareness, but not alarm.

"We don't have a specific treatment targeting this virus or any other viruses that are under investigation, but the patients are in good hands and receiving good medical care, and the fact that many of them are improving both here domestically and internationally suggests that the majority of people will be able to survive this illness if they are in good medical care," says Julie Gerberding, Director, CDC.

Diagnosing this mystery illness involves two issues: symptoms which include fever and respiratory trouble along with recent travel to an Asian country. For more information on SARS, you can ( click here ).

Of those infected in Hong Kong, 242 have developed full-blown pneumonia. Education Secretary Arthur Li ordered about 180 children with infected family members to stop attending classes for a week starting Monday (March 24). Authorities in Hong Kong have ordered all schools to be disinfected and will shut down for a week.

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