Printer Friendly

Travel warning over killer bug.

Byline: Vik Iyer

BRITISH travellers have been warned to be vigilant for symptoms relating to a killer pneumonia bug which was yesterday branded ``a worldwide health threat''.

Nine people have now died from the mystery pneumonia strain which experts say cannot be stopped by standard drugs and has already reached three continents due to air travel. American and French health officials in Vietnamese city Hanoi said the latest fatality was a young nurse who died on Saturday.

Dick Thompson, a spokesman for the World HealthOrganisation, said: ``People a renot responding to an ti biotics or antivirals. It's a highly contagious disease and it's moving around by jet. It's bad.''

Outbreaks of the acute respiratory illness were first reported in south China and Vietnam but cases have since been reported across south-east Asia and in Canada.

A spokeswoman for Britain's Department of Health said: ``Travellers returning to the UK from any of these areas since 2 3rd February with sudden onset of high fever and one other symptom of pneumonia including cough, sore throat or shortness of breath,or muscle aches should seek medical advice.''

Although American scientists refused to rule out bioterrorism as a possible cause for the illness, British experts played down possible links. A spokesman for the Britain's Public Health Laboratory Service said: ``Clearly it would be foolish to rule out any possibility until you have got evidence for ruling it out.

``Here in the United Kingdom, we have identified a number of infections which have been deemed most likely to result from some kind of bioterrorismattack.''

He added that pneumonia was not among the list of agents considered likely to form the basis of a bioterrorist attack.

The Department of Health said yesterday: ``We are not currently advising any restrictions on travel to these areas.''

The Hanoi outbreak started after an American businessman travelling from Shanghai viaHong Kong apparently infected up to 31 hospital workers, including the nurse who died. Canadian health officials reported that a mother and son, recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong, died earlier this month in Toronto.

Officials reported 42 cases in Hong Kong, while 16 infections have been diagno sed in Sin gap ore and a further three cases found in Taipei.

The Philippin es, Ind one sia and Thailand have also been affected, according to the WHO.

A spokeswoman for the Public Health Laboratory Service later added: ``The behaviour of this illness appears to be that of a naturally-occurring outbreak.''
COPYRIGHT 2003 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2003
Words:411
Previous Article:Hunt for killer as girl's body found.
Next Article:Beer money adds up to pounds 19.7bn.


Related Articles
HELP US TO FIGHT THIS SILENT KILLER MENINGITIS; Parents demand vaccine for bug.
Water report scandal.
KILLER BUG ON WARDS.
Students alerted over deadly virus.
Vietnam is off SARS risk list.
KILLER BUG MRSA LIVES ON COINS; Fears over handling cash.
DEADLIER THAN MRSA; Experts told how new superbug attacks the abdomen and is linked to hospital deaths.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters