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WHO Urges Health Workers To Be Alert For Patients Exhibiting Symptoms Of New SARS-Like Virus

“The World Health Organization on Wednesday urged health workers around the world to report any patient with acute respiratory infection who may have traveled to Saudi Arabia or Qatar and been exposed to a new SARS-like virus confirmed in two people so far,” Reuters reports. “Its clinical guidance to 194 member states said health care workers should be alert to anyone with acute respiratory syndrome that may include fever (above 38°C or 100.4°F) and cough, requiring hospitalization, who had been in the area where the virus was found or in contact with a suspect or confirmed case within the previous 10 days,” the news service notes.

“The United Nations agency put out a global alert on Sunday saying a new virus had infected a 49-year-old Qatari who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia — where another man with an almost identical virus had died,” Reuters writes, adding, “The WHO said on Wednesday no new case of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure due to the new virus had been reported but its investigations continued” (Nebehay, 9/26). “Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) and respiratory disease experts said there was no immediate cause for concern, although authorities were watching out for any signs of the virus spreading,” according to Al Jazeera, which adds, “The virus, known as a coronavirus, comes from the same family as both the common cold and SARS, the syndrome that killed 800 people in a 2003 epidemic” (9/24).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.