Mysterious New Disease ID’ed

    Patient Kim Nguyen, right, and her husband Quang Nguyen are seen at National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012.  Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV. The patients' immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. Kim Nguyen, 62, a seamstress from Vietnam who has lived in Tennessee since 1975, may have been in danger of that when she first sought help for a persistent fever, infections throughout her bones and other bizarre symptoms in 2009. She had been sick off and on for several years and had visited Vietnam in 1995 and again in early 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

    A puzzling disease that is affecting only Asians is being described by researchers as similar to AIDS, but not contagious. Dr. Sarah Browne, with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calls the new disease “absolutely fascinating” but says it’s an acquired immune deficiency that isn’t spread through a virus, like HIV/AIDS. According to Browne’s report published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the illness usually develops around age 50, but doesn’t appear to be passed down genetically. The first cases began to appear in 2004, and doctors have developed a method to tame infections, but an unknown number have already died from the disease. Researchers have concluded that genetic and environmental factors must be contributing to the illness, since all the patients so far have been Asian or born in Asia.

    Read it at The Associated Press