-- The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), in collaboration
with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating
a suspected case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in
New Jersey, one of 11 suspected cases being investigated in the
36-year-old female complained of fever and cough on February 8,
2003, while still in the U.S. She traveled to Asia on February 19,
and about five days later developed worsening fever and cough.
receiving medical attention in Asia, the patient's condition worsened,
prompting her to return to the U.S. on March 2. She was admitted
to a North Jersey hospital the same day for atypical respiratory
clinical condition improved sufficiently to allow her to be discharged
to home on March 17. Family members who accompanied her to Asia
and hospital employees who treated her in New Jersey have shown
no signs of the respiratory illness. No other suspected cases have
been reported in New Jersey.
Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a form of atypical pneumonia
occurring in a person who has traveled to a country with an outbreak
or come in contact with a person with SARS. SARS, the cause of which
has not yet been identified, begins as an influenza-like illness,
with such symptoms as rapid onset of high fever, muscle aches, headache,
sore throat, dry cough and shortness of breath. X-rays show pneumonia
and/or respiratory distress syndrome. Laboratory tests show low
numbers of white blood cells and platelets. Many affected individuals
have experienced respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation.
emergence of SARS reinforces the importance of aggressive disease
surveillance for rapid detection of health threats,'' said Health
and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
of today, a total of 306 suspect or probable cases including ten
deaths have been reported from 10 countries: Canada, China, Germany,
Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United
States and Vietnam. Hong Kong, Hanoi and Singapore continue to be
the most affected areas, according to the World Health Organization.
Saturday, March 15, DHSS received a health alert from the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and immediately
transmitted information to hospitals and public health agencies
explaining how to identify potential cases and appropriate reporting
mechanisms. Health officials in New Jersey have been instructed
to immediately report any suspected cases by telephone to both DHSS
and local health officials. The department conducted a series of
conference calls Monday with public health officials and hospitals
to review the available information and answer questions.
World Health Organization has urged all travelers to be aware of
the symptoms associated with SARS. CDC has developed travel alerts
for individuals entering the United States. DHSS will maintain close
communication with the CDC and New Jersey's public health and health
more information, log on to www.cdc.gov/travel.
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