A virus that resembles SARS, the viral respiratory illness that invaded dozens of countries a decade ago, is raising major concerns among health experts.
KSTP recently caught up with Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, to discuss the new SARS-like virus and the risks it could pose to our health.
“It would have all the same potential frightening elements to it. Meaning that it surely could be highly transmissible,” said Osterholm. “It could be a virus that could cause very serious illness and require intensive care hospitalization. The first 10 cases surely give us that evidence.”
Out of the ten confirmed cases, five of those people have died. Interestingly enough, every case has been found to have ties to the Middle East. The most recent, and the first in 2013, involved a U.K. resident that recently visited Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Health experts first started warning the public about the virus last fall. At that time, Health Talk profiled the initial cases.
Unfortunately, the future of the virus remains uncertain.
“Is it in fact going to just die out? Is it going to have these sporadic occasional infections occur? Or is it going to actually blow, as we would say, and develop the ability to be transmitted by humans? And if that were to occur, then we would be on the edge of a global pandemic,” Osterholm told KSTP.