X-Message-Number: 21504
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: WashPost: At CDC, Big Steps to Stem Epidemic 
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2003 21:55:14 -0800


At CDC, Big Steps to Stem Epidemic
Warnings Cover Travel, Treatment

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2003; Page A09

U.S. health officials yesterday stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of 
a dangerous new lung infection that has sparked a global health emergency.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against 
unnecessary travel to all of China, Singapore, Hanoi and Hong Kong.

The CDC also outlined detailed measures that people infected with the 
disease and anyone who comes into close contact with them should take to 
reduce the risk of transmitting the infection.

At least 62 suspected cases of the disease, known as severe acute 
respiratory syndrome (SARS), have been reported in the United States in 22 
states, including four in Virginia.

Most have been among people who recently returned from parts of Asia, where 
the epidemic is spreading, but two health care workers and five family 
members have caught the infection from a traveler.

Authorities are meeting all planes, cargo ships and cruise ships arriving in 
the United States directly or indirectly from affected areas, removing and 
isolating any sick passengers, and giving other passengers detailed 
instructions to look out for symptoms. They include a sudden fever of 104 
degrees or above, a cough and problems breathing. Chest X-rays usually show 

The incubation period is believed to be between two and seven days after 
exposure. It is unclear how long someone is infectious.

People suspected of having SARS should stay home while sick and for 10 days 
after the last symptom goes away, the CDC advised. They should also use 
common sense, such as covering the mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough.

"If possible, a person recovering from SARS should wear a surgical mask 
during close contact with uninfected persons," the CDC said. "If the patient 
is unable to wear a surgical mask, other persons in the home should wear 
masks when in close contact with the patient."

Anyone living with a suspected patient should wash their hands frequently, 
consider using alcohol-based disinfectants, and consider wearing disposable 
gloves when they might have contact with bodily fluids. They should avoid 
sharing utensils, towels and bedding before they are washed with soap and 
hot water.

  2003 The Washington Post Company

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