Two new viruses from Saudi and China threaten Hyderabadis now - The New Indian Express

Two new viruses from Saudi and China threaten Hyderabadis now

Published: 14th August 2013 08:20 AM

Last Updated: 14th August 2013 09:46 AM

While the danger of swine flu (H1N1) virus has finally subsided in the city and is not seen as a fatal infection anymore, two new viruses have emerged as a threat to citizens.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and H7N9 viruses from Saudi Arabia and China, have alerted doctors across the state and the nation, as persons coming from those two countries could infect locals and may even recreate a scenario similar to when the swine flu virus infected people in large numbers.

“As of now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) has sent advisories to the concerned embassies to screen people coming in from those two countries for swine flu, and those two new viruses,” informed Dr K Shubhakar, state swine flu coordinator, Chest Hospital. He explained that Indians residing in those countries may come back with those viruses, and the same is the risk with those who visit Saudi Arabia and China. The threat however may be even bigger for the city, as many from Hyderabad go to Saudi Arabia to look for work and also for pilgrimage every year.

New viruses are dangerous as people do not have immunity built against them, as they only form after a period of time. “Until now however we have not received even a single case. People are being monitored and the samples taken from them are sent to the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi and another institution in Pune,” Dr Shubhakar mentioned, adding that out of the approximate 90 cases in Saudi Arabia, so far 45 people have died. He also said that the MERS was nothing but a mutated version of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) influenza virus.

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