New Clues About Mysterious Illness - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/19/03

New Clues About Mysterious Illness

An update on that mysterious illness that's worrying travelers overseas. U.S. health officials say they're investigating 11 reports of patients with symptoms and a travel history that fit the description of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

But as of yet, there are no confirmed cases in this country. The germ in question is believed to belong to the para-myxol virus family that causes illnesses like the measles, mumps, and a respiratory bug, RSV.

But that's just a clue, the CDC says more work needs to be done. In the meantime, it has issued guidelines for doctors here who find they have a patient with a possible case.

"We are advising that individuals who present with a fever and respiratory symptoms first be evaluated for their travel history or close contact with individuals who are on the suspect case list. And if there is a travel history or a clinical suspicion that this could be SARS, that they be immediately put in respiratory isolation," says Dr. Julie Gerberding, director, CDC.

Although most of the cases continue to show up in Hong Kong, Hanoi, and Singapore, the World Health Organization reports 250 cases are suspected in 10 countries including Canada, China, Germany, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. 9 people have died from SARS.

Health officials say they're looking into another important clue, that a cluster of the initial patients, including those from Singapore and Canada, stayed at the same hotel in Hong Kong in February.

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