Wednesday, 18 June 2003

Kuala Lumpur (Fides Service) – Where does the virus come from? Why did it not appear earlier? Is the natural reservoir really an animal? These are some of the queries raised and discussed by experts mainly from Asia and Canada attending the first World Conference on SARS organised in Kuala Lumpur by the World Health organisation, ending on June 18. After keeping the entire planet under inspection for three months, WHO wanted to bring together researchers involved in the struggle against this first serious epidemic of the third millennium . According to data issued by the WHO, from November 2002 to today the total number of people infected by SARS was 8,460: of these 799 died and 6,989 recovered. It is feared however that the virus, at the moment under control, may have a sudden return in Autumn. The purpose of the WHO meeting was to discuss ways to protect people from seasonal illnesses and reduce the risk of infection. Experts say the only security is to prevent the disease with anti-influenza vaccination. AP (Fides Service 18/6/2003 EM lines 19 Words: 193).

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