Skip to comments.MAINLAND CHINA: Chlamydia arrowed as culprit [SARS]
Posted on 04/05/2003 4:08:17 PM PST by Lessismore
BEIJING - Chinese experts believe a chlamydia-like organism could be the 'prime culprit' of Sars, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) says only further research can prove chlamydia is responsible for the contagion.
The China Daily yesterday quoted doctors from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as saying they had traced airborne chlamydia - a virus usually contracted through sexual contact - in the bodies of five Sars victims.
Chlamydia 'can be basically confirmed as the prime culprit of the disease', CDC director Li Liming said.
Experts abroad believe the main cause is a new strain of coronavirus, usually found in animals, and this claim is pointing the way for researchers in the United States to work towards a vaccine.
While Chinese experts have not ruled out coronavirus, the local media has already hailed as a 'breakthrough' the discovery of chlamydia as the likely cause of Sars, which has killed at least 86 people from Asia to North America.
But a four-member WHO team now in Guangzhou called on China's experts to review their findings and said the illness might involve several viruses, including chlamydia, or bacteria.
WHO spokesman Chris Powell told The Sunday Times:
'There is no major disagreement with the Chinese. It is true there is chlamydia in the victims.
'But what role the chlamydia plays is uncertain. More investigation is needed to see if it is responsible for the infection or if it acts as a co-factor.'
There has been considerable speculation that many unlicensed animal farms in the rural districts of Guangdong province were the original breeding ground for a strain that mutated and infected human beings.
But WHO team leader Robert Breiman told the Associated Press that no link to animals has been established, as most Chinese Sars victims had been city dwellers.
Separately, WHO's infectious diseases chief David Heymann was quoted by Reuters as saying in Spain that the virus should be identified within weeks. But an important next step was to develop a test to identify carriers who possibly did not show symptoms.
A vaccine, however, was a 'long time' away, he added.
What the WHO team in Guangdong is hoping to be able to get soon are laboratory samples from the health authorities so that the process of identifying the culprit bug can proceed.
The team spent a third day in the southern Chinese province, having already visited the city of Foshan - thought to be where the very first cases originated last November.
Since then there have been 47 reported deaths in China and more than 1,200 others have been affected.
The Chinese media has also begun a belated Sars public education campaign, highlighting the illness and offering public health advice, in contrast to the previous weeks when little was reported on it.
Chlamydia is a bacterium, not a virus. I wonder if the rest of this article is as accurate as the above.
Wrong. Chlamydia is a bacterium that is usually passed sexually. It is not a virus.
It has been known to be responsible for Pelvic Inflamatory Disease
in women and to cause sterility in men and women. Many people who are
infected don't present symptoms until the damage has been done.
Guess China didn't heed the warnings about making deals with the bent one.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the sexually transmitted disease.
Chlamydia psittaci causes "Parrot Fever" or "psittacosis", and is caught from birds. I don't think it is transmitted sexually, but having sex with an infected parrot would be a bad thing.
The other virus that was an early contender was a paramyxovirus. IIRC that was reported by Hong Kong, German, and Canadian labs.
However, after the US CDC identified coronavirus, the others are much less mentioned.
I'm not sure they really know yet.