Should SARS be getting more attention?

by Simon 34 Replies latest social current

  • onacruse

    Correction: There have been no deaths (to date) in the US due to SARS.


    Your points about previous flu viruses are well taken. I remember more than one episode where it seemed like (read hyper-media said) the potential for a massive uncontrollable outbreak was on the horizon, and all just faded away, with nothing more than the "average" number of deaths.

    However, I do wonder: how was the Spanish Flu "perceived" at its onset? Or, the Black Plague?

    Not all such infections can be dismissed out-of-hand as run-of-the-mill annual disease cycles.


  • Xander

    Their was no global awareness of ANYTHING at the time either of those plagues hit. News was 'fresh' if it was weeks old in most cases.

    In any case, the flu is still a very terrible thing to get in most of the world today - it's fatality rate is quite high (like, 15%). Think how crappy you, a normal, healthy, adult feel when you get it. Now imagine you are sickly, malnourished, and have no access to any medicine BEFORE you get it. See the problem?

    How diseases are treated in the 1st world and 3rd world are completely different. I should have revised my above statement - in a first-world country, it takes a whopper of a virus to take a normal, healthy, adult down. This isn't it.

  • jgnat

    I believe the WHO is very right to do their best to stop the spread of this disease. The extra precautions, like quarantine, are necessary until they really understand SARS; how it spreads and how they can treat it.

    The media often mistakes high caution with high danger. At my job, I learned a lot about PCB's. Great precautions are taken to keep it out of the environment. It is not uncommon to see technicians in their white garb swoop down and scoop up everything in sight at a PCB spill. That must mean PCB's are really dangerous, right? Wrong! And the media does not help with headlines screaming, "Highly Toxic PCB Spill". PCB's are dangerous to the environment because they are a highly stable chemical. Almost nothing breaks them down. That is the danger and the safety about PCB's. Once in the environment, they are there to stay. PCB's have been detected in the blubber of animals in the high arctic. But also because of their stability, they are unlikely to hurt us, either.

    Back to SARS. I am glad the WHO is being cautious. We should pay attention, and stop this mystery disease in it's tracks. On the other hand, I am not worried about this virus killing me. *cough* *cough*

    ...just kidding!

  • onacruse


    Their was no global awareness of ANYTHING at the time either of those plagues hit.

    I wasn't thinking about global awareness; I was only thinking about how these epidemics were "perceived" by medical professionals at the onset of symptoms. In that respect, though, my reference to the BP and SI is anachronistic.

    However, I've lived through some serious flu epidemics (one in 1964, as I recall) that had the world medical community put to highest task in containing and treating the outbreak. It's only a matter of time before another virus presents a similar global challenge, and causes comparable mortality.

    As jgnat distinguishes,

    The media often mistakes high caution with high danger.

    The CDC and WHO are not "media" in that sense.


  • DonnieDarko

    The CDC in america recently exumed some bodies that died of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. This particular virus killed about 23 million. Could there be a corollation?

    Also, the doctor who first identified this SARS virus recently died himself of the virus. unlike the flu virus, this virus tends to fill the lungs with fluid. Making it very difficult to breath.

  • Francois

    Yes, I think SARS should be getting far more attention. If it's as dangerous as I think it is, it will.


  • DJ

    I've seen quite a bit of news coverage on it. Most importantly though is not how the news covers it but what the medical community is doing. Today, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta announced that this virus is a corona (sp) virus. Under the microscope it has a crown like all coronas. This however is a new strain. They said that anti viral med's are very successful in treating coronas but they just have to determine the best one for this particular strain.

  • Simon

    Whether it is "the big one" or not, it has still proven one thing:

    We are not really able to defend against something like this any better than we were with Spanish Flu and because of global travel it will travel the globe almost instantly, denying us the time to study it and prepare as it spreads.

    I think the way it is handled and the response to it (quarantining airlines etc...) does give cause for concern - they are obviously taking it seriously.

  • onacruse

    DJ :

    They said that anti viral med's are very successful in treating coronas but they just have to determine the best one for this particular strain.

    According to CDC (4/1 9:30 a.m. EST)(bold added):

    CDC currently recommends that patients with SARS receive the same treatment that would be used for any patient with serious community-acquired atypical pneumonia of unknown cause. Several treatment regimens have been used for patients with SARS, but there is insufficient information at this time to determine if they have had a beneficial effect. Reported therapeutic regimens have included antibiotics to presumptively treat known bacterial agents of atypical pneumonia. Therapy also has included antiviral agents such as oseltamivir or ribavirin. Steroids also have been administered orally or intravenously to patients in combination with ribavirin and other antimicrobials.

    It may well turn out that one of the typical antivirals proves to be highly effective, but the medical jury is still out. This reminds me of Legionaire's disease. These bugs can be so difficult to diagnose, much less treat.


  • DJ

    Come on guys........I'm the weaker vessel remember???? I'm trying not to panic if I see a poor Chinese person tomorrow in the grocery store. Between this and the war and all the other evil in a day, I'm trying to chill..........I just really think that the CDC will get a handle on this, well.......atleast they are working on it. Now, if the news media was supposed to find a cure, we'd be up a river w/o a paddle..........Love, dj

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