WHO still worries about SARS
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2004:
GUANGZHOU, Guangdong– H5N1 pushed Sudden Acute Respiratory
Syndrome out of the news, but China and the World Health
Organization remain concerned that it could resurge.
The fourth and last known SARS case from a mid-December 2003
outbreak in Guangzhou was a 40-year-old medical doctor and hospital
director named Liu, who fell ill on January 7. Pronounced recovered
on January 18, he was confirmed as a SARS case on January 24. Liu
was believed to have become infected through his work.
The first known victim of the outbreak was 32-year-old TV
producer Luo Jian, a self-described “environmentalist who is against
the slaughter of living creatures.” Luo Jian fell ill on December
16 with the coronavirus found in civets, but swore he had never
eaten or handled a civet. Despite media reports that Luo Jian might
have been infected by wild mice or rats, the source of his case
The second victim was waitress Zheng Ling, 20, who worked
in a Guangzhou restaurant that served civet meat.
The third was a 35-year-old man, of whom little has been disclosed.
Recalling the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which also began with
sporadic cases in Guangdong, and killed 916 people worldwide,
officials ordered the killing of about 10,000 captive masked palm
civets, tanukis (” raccoon dogs”), and hog badgers.
The International Society for Infectious Diseases warned
against any relaxation of vigilance on January 31. Two days earlier
the British journal Science published a report that the SARS virus
mutated from being able to infect only 3% of human contacts in
November 2002 to infecting 70% of human contacts by February 2003.
Fear of SARS helped to achieve the December 30 adoption of a
new national wildlife protection law in South Korea.
According to a summary of the new law provided by International Aid
for Korean Animals, “From January 2005,” after a year-long
phase-in, “illegal poachers of wildlife and people eating wildlife
will be punished,” by “up to one year of imprisonment or a fine” of
up to approximately $4,170 U.S.
“The law bans hunting amphibians and reptiles who were not
included in the 1993 wildlife protection law” that it supersedes,
the summary said. “Animals added as protected species include moon
bear, water deer, wild boar, pit vipers, and badgers. Feral cats
that have been responsible for disturbing the ecosystem will also be
classified as wildlife,” the translation added. This enables
wildlife officials to trap them. “However,” the translation
finished, “stray cats in the city will continue to be treated as pet
animals by the Animal Protection Law.”
A proposed new South Korean animal protection law would keep
penalties in place for cruelty to pet dogs and cats, according to
IAKA, but would exempt dogs and cats who are raised for meat.