Third Suspected SARS Case in North-East France

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As officials from the Agence Régionale pour la Santé (ARS) announce that a third suspected case is under investigation, concerns are rising over the new strain of the virus from the Middle East

“We have a third suspected case this morning, with a nurse from Douai.” So said Dr Sandrine Segovia Kueny, deputy director general of the ARS on radio this morning.

On Thursday, authorities had said that a doctor and former hospital room-mate of the confirmed case were being treated were being examined for suspected symptoms of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). They are being treated at Lille and Tourcoing hospitals respectively, where they are undergoing further tests to ascertain whether or not they are suffering from the new strain of SARS.

The virus was first noticed ten years ago in China, where it became pandemic, causing almost 800 deaths out of 8,000 cases. This current strain is believe to have originated in the Middle East. Most cases so far have been in Saudi Arabia and the first French victim is believed to have picked up SARS on a recent trip to Dubai.

The 65-year-old victim is a native of the Nord region of France and is currently undergoing treatment in a hospital in Tourcoing. He was accompanied on his trip to the Middle East by his daughter and wife, neither of whom contracted the virus, leading medical authorities to believe that it was not as contagious as originally feared.

However, latest developments would suggest otherwise, with the virus having spread to another three people in the 65-year-old’s vicinity. Authorities say that he is still in a “serious but stable” condition.

The latest strain of this illness is being treated seriously, but so far, the total number of cases worldwide is far from an epidemic, numbering just 33, with 18 of them dying, of whom 11 were in Saudi Arabia.

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