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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

As all eyes have been concentrated on the Avian Flu Virus H7N9 along comes another virus, Coronavirus that has burst onto the scene. Arising in the Middle East it has now spread to Europe. It is highly deadly so far killing 50 percent of those infected. It attacks the respiratory system with a viciousness that leads to other organ failure such as the kidneys. Unlike H7N9 which many believe is transmitted directly from animals there have been confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission such as a patient in North London who came down with the virus while visiting the Middle East and transmitted it to another patient sharing his room while being treated in London. This is a virus that is related to the infamous SARS virus that infected more than 8000 people and killed 800 several years ago in China. This virus is believed to have originated in bats and has somehow crossed over and mutated into a state where it is able to infect humans. It is similar to the H7N9 virus in that it has not been seen to affect humans thus no one has any natural immunity to it. It is also similar to H7N9 in that there is no treatment for it other than to treat the symptoms it causes such as severe respiratory disease, shock and kidney failure. The world no faces two uncertain and very deadly threats from two diseases, both new and deadly. Only time will tell if either or both of these diseases will reach pandemic potential and that time will come in about 4 months when fall and then winter begin driving people to huddle closer together in their homes where they will be in close contact sneezing, coughing and handling objects, like cups, spoons and forks infected by others sick in the household. That is when we will know the full potential of these two viruses to reach pandemic potential. I will be covering both these diseases extensively so please come back to this blog and I will try to provide the best information possible. Just to remind you if you haven't read my profile: I am a Physician Assistant with a Masters Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management. I have studied infectious diseases and disasters extensively. I have been involved both in planning for and responding to such incidents. I have also studied the political and human behavior aspects of such incidents. I hope to provide concise and informative information free from any political or religious ideology. All I will will attempt to provide is the facts and only the facts