While the world deals with the latest fatalities and paranoia in regards to the SARS epidemic, scientists and researchers
have unveiled a new twist in the saga. The virus on which SARS is transmitted is now believed to be able to exist in
human waste for at least 4 days.
The World Health Organization¡¯s (WHO) chief scientists, Dr. Klaus Sthor, told the Associated Press this discovery was ¡°the
most exciting, or perhaps disturbing, finding.¡± Originally, SARS was thought to be transmitted by casual contact from coughs
and sneezes, but it now appears that human waste may be an even greater carrier of the mutated Corona Virus that SARS
is transmitted through.
Without getting too graphic, it appears that the acidity in the feces has much to do with ghow long the Virus can survive.
In normal, solid stool, the life expectancy for SARS is about two days, but in diarrhea, which has a higher level of Alkaline,
the virus can exist even longer.
The danger in this long lifespan is of course, the possibility of mutation. The threat of a sever outbreak of this syndrome could
still spread rapidly throughout underdeveloped countries who are not properly equipped with adequate sewage systems.
There is still no hard evidence on how much exposure is needed for someone to become infected, but the WHO has found that
disinfectants such as chlorine bleach have killed the virus in five minutes.
Recent studies in Japan have found that SARS can stay alive on a chilled plastic surface for up to four days. This would mean that
if you were to touch something and put it into the freezer, the virus could stay alive inside your freezer for a significant amount of time.
The virus has been tested at temperatures of minus 100 degrees and has shown no signs of dying.
On a national scale, SARS has taken the lives of over 450 people and infected a staggering 6,700.
We know now that SARS is carried on a new strain of the Corona Virus family that causes infections such as the common cold or
flu, as well as causing gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases in animals.
While there is still no cure, organizations such as the WHO and FDA have repeatedly said that the best way to fight the disease is
Washing your hands repeatedly as well as maintaining a sterile living and working environment are basic preventative measures
you can take against SARS.
It is interesting that, although the majority of SARS cases have spread quickly throughout Asian countries, Korea has not reported a
single case. Some have attributed this to the high level of garlic in their foods, along with the staple side dish of Kim Chi, a pickled
cabbage that has been known to fight infections.