Possible SARS Case In New York City
From The World Journal
March 23, 2003
The first individual affected with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
(SARS) in New York City was identified yesterday. The Citys
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) said two New York
residents who just returned from Guangdong, China, might have been
affected with SARS. At least one of them is of Chinese descent.
The DOHMH did not reveal the identities of the two individuals
but said both were isolated and treated and would not pose as any
threat to public health. The two might be Chinese Americans who
had just returned from trips to Southeast Asia and the Chinese community
should not be overly concerned.
Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of DOHMH, announced that a 67-year-old
man and a 27-year-old woman have been identified as possible SARS
cases. Both of them have respectively stayed over in Guangdong and
Hong Kong. The man was admitted to a Lower East Side hospital after
his return on March 17. His illness met the official SARS criteria
and is in stable condition.
The woman went to an emergency department after her return on March
19. Although she was suspected of having SARS, she was not hospitalized.
Frieden said both of them met the criteria set by the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The criteria includes an unexplained high fever over 100.4 degrees,
one or more respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath,
difficulty breathing, either close contact with a person who has
been diagnosed with SARS or a recent history of travel to areas
reporting cases of SARS.
Including the two cases in New York, the number of affected persons
has reached 13 in the nation, with other cases in New Jersey, Massachusetts,
Maine, California, and Hawaii. It is the first case in New York
and the individuals could very possibly be of Chinese descent.
Frieden said these two cases might not be SARS but the CDC advises
all physicians to diligently report possible cases.
Many Chinese physicians said that those who just return from Hong
Kong and China and experience symptoms of cough and fever might
have been affected with SARS. They cite that it's the peak season
for flu and respiratory illnesses, so the number of possible cases
in residents of Chinese descent is expected to rise.
Tsao Ying Yang, executive director of Charles B. Wang Community
Health Center, said people should pay attention to their personal
hygiene and should not spit. Those who cough or sneeze should cover
their mouths with their hands and wash hands immediately afterward.
In addition, it is also advised that trips to Guangdong Province,
China and Hong Kong should be avoided.
Liu Ji Gao, chairman of the Chinese-American Physicians Association,
said the Chinese community should not be overly concerned but should
be highly alert. It is advised to avoid contact with relatives or
friends who just came from Guangdong and Hong Kong within 10 days.
Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung
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