A new ‘SARS-like virus’ said to be “different from any that have previously been identified in humans” put a man in critical condition in intensive care in a London hospital. The 49-year-old had recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia, where a man died from a virus that was almost identical. Although the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in Britain said there is no “immediate cause for concern,” for those traveling internationally, this is a very scary issue.
Experts are watching for signs of the virus, called coronavirus, spreading. It comes from the SARS family–the virus that claimed the lives of 800 people in 2002. People are especially concerned about the virus spreading because of the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage which will take place next month. The Hajj pilgrimage is when millions of Muslims from all over the world travel to Mecca–and then return home. That is why they are calling this disease an international issue.
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The infected man, who had traveled to Qatar, is currently being treated in isolation in London hospital’s intensive care unit, where doctors and nurses treating him are required to wear heavy protective equipment. Even scarier? The coronavirus is from a family of viruses which includes causes of the common cold. It’s difficult for officials to determine how threatening this SARS-like virus could be with only two cases so far, but if you were planning on taking a trip to Saudi Arabia (first of all, you’re very brave; and secondly, it might be a good idea to hold off for a little while).