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 -(New York, May 28, 2003)

Update on SARS

Written by Dr. Ljubo Vujovic M.D., Dr. Mihailo Rundo M.D.

Michael Parrinello FNP, MS, Keith Seims FNP, MSN

(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

The Tesla Memorial Society from New York is providing an update on SARS and links to some authorized and important organizations that are reporting on the new SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic.  The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome continues in affected areas of Toronto (Canada), China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and other places.  The corona virus causing SARS is under intensive international study, it has not been fully characterized and there is no vaccine or other prophylaxis available yet.  The recent studies confirm that the SARS virus is a new variety of corona virus.  The scientific information about the molecular components of the virus should help speed efforts to diagnose, treat and prevent the global epidemic of this deadly disease.

Last week the World Health Organization issued recommendations aimed at further limiting the spread of SARS and protecting international air passengers.  More than 3,500 probable cases of SARS have been reported worldwide by the World Health Organization at the end of May 2003.  In the United States, 220 cases were reported; that included 184 suspected cases and 36 probable cases according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA).  There has been no U.S. deaths so far as of the end of May 2003.

SARS is transmitted through person-to-person contact with respiratory secretions and body fluids of infected patients.  The symptoms of SARS are fever greater than 100.4F (>38.0C).  Other symptoms may included headache and overall feeling of discomfort and body aches.  People also experience respiratory symptoms.  After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough, have trouble breathing and have underlining pneumonia with abnormal arterial blood gases.

To prevent the spread of the disease in hospitals, the medical staff and office staff are instructed to put on surgical masks.  A surgical mask should be placed immediately on the patient and the patient should be escorted to the examining room closest to the waiting room.  It is recommended that the nebulizers not be used on the patient.  Spraying with a nebulizer might be able to transmit SARS. 

International cooperation is necessary in research, treatment and financial aid to affected countries to combat SARS.  This is also true to combating HIV/AIDS, yellow fever, malaria and other deadly diseases affecting the globe.

World Health Organization member countries gathered at the annual World Health Assembly on May 27, 2003 unanimously approved a resolution granting the World Health Organization to intervene in world health crises even without the invitation of the countries affected by such crises.  US President George W. Bush signed into law on May 27, 2003 a $15 billion initiative to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean over the next five years and issued a challenge to European governments to offer matching funds.


Links to other organizations reporting on SARS

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Georgia USA) | Questions and Answers: Travel and Quarantine - SARS

  2. American for Medical Progress

  3. Health Canada

  4. The Miami Herald

  5. MSN Health - SARS: Preventing its Spread

  6. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  7. BBC News

  8. United Nations Information Center

  9. Science Magazine: Progress on SARS