http://www.fides.org

Europa

2003-05-20

EUROPE/ITALY - AT LAST SCHOLARS FROM LA SAPIENZA UNIVERSITY PROVIDE CLEAR INFORMATION ABOUT SARS: HOW IT SPREADS, WHAT SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT, WHAT TO DO TO AVOID IT

Roma (Fides Service) – A group of Virologists at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases at the La Sapienza in Rome have prepared for Fides Service a report on the main characteristics of SARS, sources of infection, diagnosis and norms of prevention. It is unfortunately known to be a mortal virus. The new plague, which hit the planet six months ago, is transmitted by direct contact with the infected person who emits droplets of secretion containing the virus through coughing. The mortality effect of SARS can be influenced by the mode of contagion, the quantity of virus with which the person comes into contact, factors connected with the person in question, such as age or the existence of other pathologies, or environment factors such as for example the possibility of speedy access to suitable hospital treatment. So far more than 7000 SARS cases have been reported from 30 different countries or places. Media reports with regard to modality of contagion and means of prevention have been incomplete and often contradictory. We have often been led to think that a mere meeting with an infected person is enough to contract SARS or that on the contrary, “people who live with a SARS patient are not at risk”. But these guidelines refer to “close contact” to indicate person who lives with or cares for a SARS patient: embracing, kissing, conversation at close range, visiting by medical personnel and in any case direct physical contact. Whereas not include are activities such as walking or sitting in a waiting room for a brief period of time. In this regard the information available shows that medical and paramedical personnel and anyone in direct contact with bronchial secretion diffused by the SARS patient’s coughing are at greatest risk unless suitable preventive measures are adopted.AP (Fides Service 20/5/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 349)

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