Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Toronto SARS expert heads to Saudi Arabia to probe coronavirus outbreak

Hat-tip Flutrackers
May 8, 2013
By Helen Branswell

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have invited outside experts to help it deal with a large outbreak of the new coronavirus in the eastern Saudi city of al Hofuf, and a Canadian infectious diseases specialist is among them.
Toronto SARS expert Dr. Allison McGeer arrived in the Middle Eastern country on Wednesday, travelling at the request of the kingdom’s government, a source revealed.

“The reappearance of this virus and the pattern of transmission currently being observed in Saudi Arabia increase the level of concern regarding this novel pathogen,” the statement said.
“The questions of the exposures that result in human infection, the mode of transmission, the source of the virus and the extent of infection in the community urgently need to be answered and are being actively pursued by the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia.”

In addition to McGeer, two officials of the World Health Organization were in or travelling to the country to meet with senior officials of the ministry of health in the capital, Riyadh.
“It’s likely they will also visit al Hofuf,” WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl said. He would not reveal the names of the WHO personnel.


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