SARS Prompts Broader Powers for WHO
New Regulations to Protect Against Infectious Disease Threats
WebMD News Archive
SARS Still Spreading
And as the meeting drew to a close today, word came from the
Russian news agency Interfax that Russian health officials had confirmed their
first case of SARS in the Amur region of southwest Russia, which shares a
border with China.
Over the weekend, the WHO added Toronto, Canada to the list of
areas with where SARS is currently being transmitted locally after new clusters
of SARS cases were linked to four Toronto hospitals. On May 14, Toronto was
removed from the WHO list of areas with local SARS transmission after no new
cases were reported over a 20-day period, which suggested that the chain of
transmission was under control.
Although the WHO currently does not recommend any travel
restrictions to Toronto, persons leaving the area are alerted to watch for
possible symptoms of SARS.
Animal Link to SARS Explored
Research teams in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China have also
reported that wild animals taken from a local market in southern China tested
positive for several coronaviruses that are genetically very similar to the
previously unknown coronavirus that causes SARS.
One of the animals also tested positive for antibodies to the
SARS virus. These exotic animals are considered delicacies in the region and
are sold for human consumption.
The WHO says this study is the first evidence that the SARS
virus may exist outside humans, but it does not prove that the virus was
transmitted from animals to humans. Officials say much more study is needed to
determine if animals may play a role in SARS transmission.