Lubbock Health Board Prepares for SARS Outbreak - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/11/03

Lubbock Health Board Prepares for SARS Outbreak

So far, only one woman from Lubbock has contracted SARS while overseas. She was treated in Houston but is recovering here in Lubbock. Now the Lubbock Health Board is putting new plans in place to make sure everyone on the South Plains is safe from this mysterious disease.

"The board of health is concerned but the general feeling is in this country we have not had the serious type of infection that they've had in China," says John Selby, M.D. of the Lubbock Health Board.

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Since February, more than 2800 (2890) reported cases of SARS have spread worldwide. About half of them in china and 166 in the U.S. With 5 of those cases in Texas. Including a Lubbock woman who is currently recovering from the disease.

"The role of the board of health is to keep in touch with these things and that if it's a severe thing then we're gonna have to make recommendations as to isolation quarantine and taking precautions by people exposed to it," says Selby.

Ken Condon, Disease Investigator for the Lubbock Health Department updates the board on the latest outbreaks. He says while they are on alert for the disease, the fear factor for an outbreak is low. "Our healthcare system is so much more advanced and our infection control policies and practices are more advanced and our infection control policies and practices are more advanced. I don't see having a big epidemic. It is a global pandemic we're seeing it everywhere but I don't see us having as large of a problem as other countries did with this."

But what the disease is exactly and how it should be treated remains unknown. Still the board is optimistic about finding a way to keep it from spreading should it arrive in Lubbock. "So far it's been a little evasive but we know what type of virus it is I think with that information we'll move along rapidly," says John Selby, M.D. of the Lubbock Health Board.

Health officials are learning more about the virus everyday. They think it is a virus similar to the common cold but with far more deadly results.

What are you hearing about the disease spreading here in the U.S. We're told so far it has not been contagious in the U.S. That means infected people here in the us have not spread it to others, and the only reports of people contracting the virus is from overseas.

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