- "We know from testing that it's not influenza, we
know that this is not SARS, we know this is not avian influenza,"
said infectious disease consultant Dr. Alison McGeer."
- Although the above comments were made at the 5 PM news
conference, later in the same news conference both statements were qualified.
- SARS was excluded because the clinical signs did not
match SARS and there was "no SARS in the world". However, papers
published this week in Science and PNAS described coronaviruses closely
related to SARS CoV in horseshoe bats and those sequences became available
at GenBank this week (bat SARS coronavirus HKU3-1, bat SARS coronavirus
HKU3-2, bat SARS coronavirus HKU3-3 ). In addition, the newly discovered
related coronviruses NL63 and HKU-1 are found in respiratory diseases
- Dr McGeer admitted that there was no data yet on coronavirus
- Similarly, when asked if influenza could be ruled out,
she said no, but she expected to be able to rule out influenza when test
results became available in a few hours.
- Thus, the data available at the time of the statement
above did not rule out a SARS, or SARS-like illness, or an influenza illness,
- Although the test for these viral etiologies may be negative,
the best way to strongly rule them out is to first get negative data for
SARS and H5N1, and the get positive data for another agent.
- Until those two results are in, the viral-like fevers
and rapid spread raise the possibility that the respiratory disease sweeping
through the nursing home in Scarborough, Canada is linked to coronaviruses
or influenza viruses like H5N1.