SARS-like virus ravages China

A deadly unknown disease appears in China

Recently in China, a new virus has emerged. This is just two years after the H7N9 Avian influenza A virus (commonly referred to as the bird flu) ran rampant across China, infecting over 750 people and killing 281, nearly a third of those who  contracted the disease. The new virus currently in China has been stated to be similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which infected just over 8,000 people between November 2002 and July 2003, killing 775 of the infected victims. 

The unnamed new disease has currently infected 59 people and has killed two since its discovery on New Year’s Eve. Recently, it has also spread to Japan and Taiwan. All of the people infected outside of China visited the Wuhan region, where the virus originated. Most of the information about this disease is unknown, including the cause and the transmission. It was originally believed to have originated in a fish market, but this has not been proven. Two people outside of China have been infected, with both visiting China, but neither visiting the suspected fish market. The method of transmission is also unknown, however, unlike other coronaviruses, it is not thought to be spread by contact. 

 The disease has been linked to a previously unknown part of the coronavirus classification. The coronavirus was named for its halo or crown (corona) shape that appears under a microscope. Coronaviruses cause symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections, including a runny nose, coughing, sore throat, fever, fatigue and, in the case of the new virus, invasive lesions in the lungs. Beyond this, the common cold, pneumonia and SARS are all caused by coronaviruses.

~Sydney Hernandez, Staff Writer~

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