WHO warns of SARS resurgence


MANILA: The head of the World Health Organisation yesterday warned health specialists of a possible resurgence of the deadly SARS virus and urged countries to boost surveillance. 

“None of us can predict what will happen later this year. Will SARS come back or not?” director-general Lee Jong-wook told a WHO regional committee meeting here.  

“We have to prepare on the assumption that this will come back. Our challenge now is to enhance surveillance networks that will detect and deal with SARS if it does come back,” Lee said in his opening address. 

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome killed more than 800 people after it apparently jumped to humans from animals in southern China late last year and was then spread worldwide by travellers. 

It infected about 8,500 people, trimmed economic growth and cost billions of dollars in lost business. 

Lee and other WHO officials also said governments needed to raise their guard against “old diseases” such as leprosy and stressed the need to contain the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis. – Reuters  

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