Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: SARS Suspected in 2 Vermont Cases

For immediate release:
March 31, 2003

Contact: Linda Dorey
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Vermont public health officials have identified two people suspected to have severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a respiratory illness that recently appeared in people living in or traveling to Asia.

The two Vermont cases are unrelated to each other. One individual is an adult male and one is a child. Both are residents of Chittenden County and had recently traveled to China.

Both individuals have received medical care and are in good condition. Neither has been hospitalized.

“We are working closely with these individuals and their physicians,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, Vermont health commissioner.

According to Jarris, he and other Health Department staff are in constant touch with the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure that all appropriate public health measures are being taken to control the spread of this disease.

“At this time, there are no definitive tests available to confirm SARS. Therefore, it is important to take precautions in every suspect case,” Jarris said.

Over the past weekend, the CDC extended its travel advisory for SARS to include all of mainland China as well as Hanoi, Vietnam, and Singapore. The previous advisory was for Hong Kong, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China and Hanoi, Vietnam.

“Anyone who has traveled to one of these areas since February 1, and who has a flu-like illness that includes fever and respiratory symptoms, should contact their primary care physician and seek medical advice,” Jarris said.

The Department of Health will continue to monitor the situation and keep in close contact with physicians across the state to assure early reporting and investigation of any possible suspect cases.

SARS was first recognized in Asia at the end of February. As of March 30, CDC was reporting 69 suspected cases of SARS in 26 states under investigation and no deaths in the United States.

For more information on SARS, see the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars.