Researchers said they had identified the new mysterious disease that has affected many people throughout Asia, as well as some in the United States, with symptoms that are AIDS-like even though they do not have HIV.
The immune system of the patients becomes damaged and leaves them unable to fight off germs as healthy people can. What is triggering this has not been determined, but at least the affliction does not seem to be contagious.
This new disease is another type of acquired immune deficiency that occurs in adults and is not inherited. However, it is not spread like AIDS via a virus, said doctors and scientists studying the condition.
A study was done with researchers in Taiwan and Thailand where the majority of cases have been diagnoses since 2004. Researchers said there is the possibility that a specific infection could trigger it, even though the particular disease itself does not seem to move from person to person.
Usually the disease develops in humans around the age of 50, but is not passed down through generations or passed through families, meaning it is unlikely that only a single gene is responsible for the disease. Some of the patients inflicted with the disease have died due to infections that were overwhelming, including some Asians that lived in the U.S.
One patient who is 62 said she had felt sick for many years. She is Asian and has lived in the U.S. for 37 years, but visited Vietnam on two occasions. She had fever, bone infections and other strange symptoms. However, since being treated, she feels much better, but she had to spend over a year in the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.