PAHO warns of bacteria resistant pneumonia

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 10            March 20, 2003

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The following information was released from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on March 17th, 2003.

     PAHO would like to alert all physicians of the Americas to be on the lookout for a yet-unidentified virus, or bacteria resistant to existing drugs, similar to pneumonia, that is appearing in the Americas. There are reports of 150 cases, (nine of which have been fatal) received from nine countries,  since February 23rd, 2003, of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an a-typical pneumonia.  PAHO states that the symptoms are high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, shortness of breath, or breathing difficulties.    

    Although, the World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to determine whether the transmission agent is droplet, aerosol, or body fluids, there is no evidence to date that the disease is spreading through casual contact. Most of the cases reported have occurred in health workers who were directly involved with previously reported cases, or close contacts such as family members, who had recently traveled to Southeast Asia or Hong Kong. 

    This disease is considered to be highly contagious, and can expand through contact with people that have traveled to Southeast Asia. Physicians are asked to contact PAHO at 224-4885 if they encounter patients with these symptoms.
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