Thursday, July 25, 2013

Deadly Middle East virus unlikely to cause SARS-like epidemic

Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:30pm EDT

* Middle East virus has killed 45 among 90 confirmed cases
* SARS virus belongs to the same coronavirus family
* Health risk to haj pilgrims "very low" - WHO
By Kate Kelland

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - Despite its high current death rate, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that emerged in Saudi Arabia last year is unlikely to cause a SARS-like epidemic because it is not spreading as easily, scientists said on Friday.
In the fullest clinical analysis yet of the new virus, British and Saudi researchers said that while there are many similarities between MERS and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) - which emerged in China in 2002 and killed around 800 people worldwide - there are also important differences.
Ali Zumla, a professor of infectious diseases and international health at University College London, said the evidence from his study suggested a large MERS epidemic with many hundreds of deaths was unlikely.


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