Mystery Disease is Spreading!

I’ve been reading about a mystery pneumonia that started in Hong Kong. Today the UN issued a worldwide “Emergency Travel Alert.” Read this story, UN Warns of Worldwide Threat from Killer Pneumonia to learn more. I’ll be following this story and will post here if it continues. It appears to be in Toronto, Vancouver and New York now.

WHO issued its first global alert for 10 years earlier this week because of the speed at which the disease travels and because patients are not responding to the usual treatments for pneumonia, Thompson said.

“As reports of cases are confirmed, you will see that there is a very high attack rate. When they get sick, they get very sick,” he said.

“We have been doing tests for weeks now in the world’s best laboratories and we still do not know whether it is a virus or bacteria,” the spokesman added.

Forget about terrorism and Iraq for a minute – this could be more serious.

The New York Times also has a story today, Rare Health Alert Is Issued by W.H.O. for Mystery Illness.

Reported cases have come from Canada and six countries in Asia — Hong Kong and elsewhere in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the health organization said. There have been no reports of the illness in the United States. But yesterday, an ill passenger and two companions who traveled from New York City were removed from a flight after it arrived in Frankfurt and put in isolation in a German hospital.

Later in the story:

W.H.O. and American officials urged all travelers to be aware of the main signs. In addition to the breathing problems, the illness can cause a dry cough and other flulike symptoms that are thought to develop two to seven days after exposure. They usually start with a sudden onset of high fever and go on to include muscle aches, headache, sore throat and shortness of breath.

Standard lab tests often show low numbers of white blood cells and platelets, which help blood to clot.

Sorry, Mr. President, it doesn’t look like you can blame this on Iraq or Bill Clinton, so I know you’ll just ignore it.

Update – The Washington Post has a story up about it now, as well.