It seems to me that the Coronavirus Outbreak that is all over the news today is mimicking the same worldwide scare that the SARS outbreak of 2003 caused. 

I was curious and did some reading on the two diseases and they are each caused by family of viruses that causes the common cold. Apparently, the difference is the risk of the infection leading to pneumonia. The SARS outbreak began in November 2002 with hundreds of people in China’s Guangdong Province being hospitalized with a mysterious respiratory illness. Five of those first cases were fatal. After a global alert from the World Health Organization (WHO) alerting travelers returning from Asia to watch for symptoms including fever, coughing, and breathing difficulties in March of 2003, the U.S. State Department authorized all non-essential employees and their families to leave the Province of Guangdong in April 2003. By this time, WHO officials reported a total of 2,353 probable cases of SARS, 84 of them fatal in 16 countries.

The majority of deaths were in Hong Kong, which prompted Chinese Communist party leaders to fire the country’s health minister and the mayor of Beijing.

After many travel bans and quarantines, the SARS outbreak was finally considered under control by July of 2003. The WHO now reports that to date the total number of people infected with SARS was 8099 with 744 of those cases fatal.  Only 8 of those cases were documented by laboratory testing in the United States with an additional 19 reported.

In 2004, the CDC issued a ban of importation of civets. The civet is a mammal with a catlike body, long legs, long tail and a masked face resembling a raccoon or weasel.  It seems a SARS like virus had been isolated in these animals that were captured in areas of China. That ban is still currently in effect.

Could be that the Coronavirus today is tied to something like that?  I am sure people much more educated than myself are looking at every possible cause of this new outbreak.

The very best are hard at work to find solutions.


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