Will New Virus Lead to SARS-Like Outbreak?
Health officials around the world are keeping a close eye on a newly discovered virus related to SARS that's killed one person and caused a severe illness in another.
In Toronto, mention SARS and it's sure to "give everybody chills when they think about it," says Mount Sinai Microbiologist Dr. Allison McGeer.
But she's downplaying any possible fears or concerns about another SARS-like outbreak, while also admitting there are still many questions that still need to be answered about the virus.
McGeer had SARS in 2003, when 44 people in Toronto were killed, but says "honestly I'm much more worried about what this flu season is going to look like."
She says it's "good news" that the two cases of the virus are from some time ago and don't appear to have spread.
"That's enough to definitively say this very different from SARS," says McGeer, noting that the virus could possibily be dangerous, but not to the extent as the 2003 outbreak.
The recent discovery is a coronavirus which can lead to the common cold and is from the same family as the virus that caused SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that killed 44 people in Toronto in 2003 and almost 800 around the world, mostly in Asia.
McGeer says lessons have been learned since the SARS outbreak, and labs around the world dedicate time to discovering these viruses, and a great deal of a attention is paid to them in the early stages, allowing health officials to be on top of them.
(With files from the Canadian Press)