World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


SARS outbreaks contained worldwide threat remains

SARS outbreaks contained worldwide but threat remains, UN health agency reports

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) appears to have been stopped all across the globe, but cautioned that the threat of future outbreaks remains.

The agency also removed Taiwan Province of China from the list of countries with recent local transmission of SARS. It has been 20 days, or two consecutive 10-day incubation periods, since the last case there on 15 June.

"We do not mark the end of SARS today, but we observe a milestone: the global SARS outbreak has been contained," said WHO Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland.

From the Guangdong province in China, the SARS virus travelled in humans to 30 countries and areas of the world but it became deeply embedded in just six. In these areas, the pattern of transmission was the same: an imported hospitalized SARS case infected health care workers and other patients who then infected their close contacts as the disease moved into the larger community. In affected areas approximately 20 per cent of all cases were in health care workers, according to WHO.

To date, 8439 people have been affected by SARS, and 812 have died. Close to 200 people remain hospitalized with the disease, WHO said, noting that undetected cases may have slipped through the surveillance network.

"This is not the time to relax our vigilance," cautioned Dr. Brundtland. "The world must remain on high alert for cases of SARS."

Dr. David L. Heymann, a senior WHO official concerned with communicable disease, echoed her warning. "We will not be able to rest until we find where this disease hides in nature and how it enters human populations because it will enter human populations again," he said.

The agency stressed the need to continue researching SARS and shoring up public health infrastructure to combat the outbreak of any new infectious disease. "SARS pushed even the most advanced public health systems to the breaking point," Dr. Brundtland observed. "Those protections held, but just barely. Next time, we may not be so lucky."

The WHO chief also paid tribute to scientists as well as public health and hospital workers who took risks in the face of a new and unknown disease. "And we must remember those frontline workers who died of SARS," she added. "Their daily dedication, courage and vigilance averted a global catastrophe."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news