Common Cold Virus Suspected in SARS
CDC Says New Form of Virus May Cause Mystery Pneumonia
As with the common cold, Gerberding says there currently no known treatments that are effective against the coronavirus. But the Department of Defense is currently testing all known antiviral drugs against this newly discovered form of the virus in an attempt to find an appropriate treatment for the mysterious pneumonia=.
Health officials continue to recommend that persons suspected of having the pneumonia illness associated with SARS should be treated as any other person with an unknown form of pneumonia with antibiotics and supportive nursing care.
Since the outbreak began, health officials have also learned more about the symptoms most commonly found in SARS and updated their description of the condition. The main symptoms of SARS are now described as:
- High fever (over 100.4 degreed Fahrenheit)
- Dry cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
- Changes in chest X-rays that suggest pneumonia.
Other non-specific symptoms such as headache, muscular stiffness, loss of appetite, malaise, confusion, rash, and diarrhea, have also been reported in SARS patients.
Despite the rapid spread of the mysterious illness, officials say SARS has yet to become a community-spread illness. All of the suspected cases have occurred among people who have recently traveled to one of the affected areas of Southeast Asia within the last 10 days or those family members of health care workers who had close, face-to-face personal contact with someone who has.
Hong Kong remains the area hardest hit by the outbreak of mysterious pneumonia, with 260 cases reported and 10 deaths. Other severely affected areas include Singapore, with 65 cases and no deaths, and Vietnam, with 58 cases and four deaths. In addition, Canada has reported 11 cases and three deaths.
Gerberding says of the 39 suspected SARS cases currently under investigation in the US, 32 are among persons who have traveled to the affected areas of Southeast Asia, and the remaining seven are healthcare workers or close family members of these individuals.