Sars in Pa

  1. From the Daily Local news-West Chester,Pa
    SARS suspected in county

    By Betsy Gilliland, Staff Writer April 05, 2003

    A southern Chester County man is suspected of contracting severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
    The man returned from a business trip to China last week. His symptoms, including fever, coughing and travel to an area in which an outbreak of the disease has occurred, matched the case definition of the disease, said Betsy Walls, Chester County Health Department director of personal health services.

    The county health department is working closely with the Pennsylvania and Delaware health departments. Walls said the man originally was treated for his symptoms in Delaware, where his physician practices. However, the case is the responsibility of the county in which he resides.

    The man is in good condition, said Walls, and does not pose a public health threat.

    He was not hospitalized. However, he has been directed to stay at home and to avoid outside contact until his cough subsides, Walls said.

    "You can only transmit this if you're coughing," she added.

    Specimens were collected and forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. If confirmed, this would be the fifth case of SARS in Pennsylvania.

    However, since he is recovering from his illness, Walls said: "He may never move from suspect."

    According to a county health department press release, other possible cases have been reported to the department. However, none of those reports were determined to be SARS cases.

    The CDC has defined suspected SARS cases as those in which a person experiences respiratory illness of unknown origin with onset since Feb. 1. Symptoms include a temperature of more than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit, one or more clinical findings of respiratory illness and travel within 10 days of onset of symptoms to an area with a documented or suspected community transmission of SARS.

    Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms and recently has traveled to Asia or has had close contact with someone who has traveled to Asia should seek medical attention and inform health professionals of his travel history.

    SARS is a viral disease which usually strikes mobile individuals between the ages of 21 and 65, Walls said.

    "People who become extremely ill from this could die," she said.

    >>>>>>I'll keep you all posted if his family,co-workers,friends or neighbors start having problems....
  2. Visit ktwlpn profile page

    About ktwlpn

    Joined: Aug '00; Posts: 4,683; Likes: 4,827
    L.P.N. in LTC-love working with dementia residents.....
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  3. by   Emery
    Thats pretty scary! I'm going to Asia in a couple of months!! :stone
  4. by   psychonurse
    I don't think that I would go to far away from good old American soil right now. Who knows what is causing this stuff and I don't know if I trust exactly what they are saying what is causing it. It could be a million different things and they aren't really sure. So until this is under control I will stay in the good old USA.
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    I know Betsy Walls RN, MSN very well---will get in touch with her re SARS info.
  6. by   CraftyLPN
    VERY SCARY Scroll down to see the tidbit....... 15-20 minutes from homebase
    Last edit by CraftyLPN on Apr 5, '03
  7. by   EmeraldNYL
  8. by   nowplayingEDRN
    I work in a Military Hospital and we had a patient admitted to isolation for observation after returning from a trip to Singapore. Turned out that it was not SARS (whew!) This is the info that the Army is disseminating to their people and employees:

    Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Updated Interim Case Definition
    The previous CDC SARS case definition (published March 22, 2003) has been updated as follows:
    Areas with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS have been expanded to include all of mainland China in addition to areas previously listed.

    Suspected Case:

    Respiratory illness of unknown etiology with onset since February 1, 2003, and the following criteria:
    Measured temperature > 100.5F (>38 C) AND
    One or more clinical findings of respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia, or radiographic findings of either pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome) AND
    Travel within 10 days of onset of symptoms to an area with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS (see list below; excludes areas with secondary cases limited to healthcare workers or direct household contacts)
    Close contact* within 10 days of onset of symptoms with either a person with a respiratory illness who traveled to a SARS area or a person known to be a suspect SARS case.

    * Close contact is defined as having cared for, having lived with, or having direct contact with respiratory secretions and/or body fluids of a patient known to be suspect SARS case.

    Areas with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS: Peoples' Republic of China (i.e., mainland China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region); Hanoi, Vietnam; and Singapore

    Note: Suspect cases with either radiographic evidence of pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome; or evidence of unexplained respiratory distress syndrome by autopsy are designated "probable" cases by the WHO case definition.

    Triage of Patients Who May Have Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: Interim Guidance for Screening in Ambulatory Care Settings
    To facilitate identification of patients who may have SARS in ambulatory care settings, targeted screening questions concerning fever, respiratory symptoms, and recent travel should be included at triage or as soon as possible after patient arrival; the most recent case definition for SARS, accessible at <>, should be used as a basis for such screening questions. Healthcare personnel who are the first points of contact should be trained for SARS screening; in the absence of systematic triage, providers caring for patients in ambulatory care settings should perform such screening before close contact.
    A surgical mask should be placed on patients in whom SARS is suspected, and contact (e.g., gloves, gown, and eye protection) and airborne precautions (e.g., an isolation room with negative pressure relative to the surrounding area and use of an N-95 filtering disposable respirator, or respirators of equivalent filtering efficiency, for persons entering the room) should be applied where feasible. Where respirators are not available, healthcare personnel evaluating and caring for suspect SARS patients should wear a surgical mask. Additional guidance regarding SARS infection control in the ambulatory care setting is available at <>.

    Interim Guidance on Infection Control Precautions for Patients with Suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Close Contacts in Households
    Patients with SARS pose a risk of transmission to close household contacts and health care personnel in close contact. The duration of time before or after onset of symptoms during which a patient with SARS can transmit the disease to others is unknown. The following infection control measures are recommended for patients with suspected SARS in households or residential settings. These recommendations are based on the experience in the United States to date and may be revised as more information becomes available.
    SARS patients should limit interactions outside the home and should not go to work, school, out-of-home child care, or other public areas until ten days after resolution of fever and respiratory symptoms. During this time, infection control precautions should be used, as described below, to minimize the potential for transmission.

    All members of a household with a SARS patient should carefully follow recommendations for hand hygiene (e.g., frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand rubs), particularly after contact with body fluids (e.g., respiratory secretions, urine, or feces). See the Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings (2002) <> for more details on hand hygiene.

    Use of disposable gloves should be considered for any direct contact with body fluids of a SARS patient. However, gloves are not intended to replace proper hand hygiene. Immediately after activities involving contact with body fluids, gloves should be removed and discarded and hands should be cleaned. Gloves must never be washed or reused.

    Each patient with SARS should be advised to cover his or her mouth and nose with a facial tissue when coughing or sneezing. If possible, a SARS patient should wear a surgical mask during close contact with uninfected persons to prevent spread of infectious droplets. When a SARS patient is unable to wear a surgical mask, household members should wear surgical masks when in close contact with the patient.

    Sharing of eating utensils, towels, and bedding between SARS patients and others should be avoided, although such items can be used by others after routine cleaning (e.g., washing with soap and hot water). Environmental surfaces soiled by body fluids should be cleaned with a household disinfectant according to manufacturer's instructions; gloves should be worn during this activity.

    Household waste soiled with body fluids of SARS patients, including facial tissues and surgical masks, may be discarded as normal waste.

    Household members or other close contacts of SARS patients who develop fever or respiratory symptoms should seek healthcare evaluation. When possible, in advance of the evaluation, healthcare providers should be informed that the individual is a close contact of a SARS patient. Household members or other close contacts with symptoms of SARS should follow the same precautions recommended for SARS patients.

    At this time, in the absence of fever or respiratory symptoms, household members or other close contacts of SARS patients need not limit their activities outside the home.

    I apologize for this being so long.......If you want, I have some more info that I would willingly share plus a screening questionaire that we use in our clinics and ED.

  9. by   oramar
    I want to thank all the posters that are giving solid info and links about this disease. The more I read the calmer I feel about the situation. I think a lot of anxiety comes from fear of the unknown.
  10. by   nowplayingEDRN

    you are quite welcome. i am happy that i could help by passing on knowledge that was given to me in order to help out others in the nursing profession so that they can better protect themselves and the patients they care for. again, i apologize that my post was so long winded but i just felt the info was too good to shave down. and again, if anyone is interested in the screening form that we use in our clinics and ED, i would be happy to share it with you. the unknown has to be the most frightening thing to both healthcare provider and patient is the only way to put those fears to rest.

  11. by   Disablednurse
    The MSN homepage had an article listing the states and number of cases and number of deaths listed per state. There are currently 115 cases in the U.S. with no reported deaths in the U.S. as of today.