Contra Costa County Issues Alert to Communities to Report Symptoms
April 1, 2003 - 1 p.m.
Contra Costa County health officials have issued an alert to the community in six languages encouraging anyone suffering from flu-like symptoms be sure to tell their health providers if they have recently traveled to some Asian countries where they might have been exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The Contra Costa Health Services' Public Health Division sent the bulletin to nearly 200 community ups in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese encouraging local residents who become ill with fever, accompanied by cough or difficulty in breathing to consult a physician. (More information about SARS is available online at www.ccpublichealth.org)
"We're asking people with those symptoms to see a doctor and to be sure to tell their health provider if they have traveled to Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore and Vietnam within seven to 10 days of becoming ill," says Francie Wise, County Communicable Disease Programs Chief. According to Wise, after the alert was distributed to the community, she was informed by Alameda County health officials that two Contra Costa residents were treated in Alameda County for SARS. They have since been released and the Public Health Division is following-up with them.
"This is still flu season and many people who have a fever may be suffering from the flu. Still, we want to be sure that people who have symptoms and who have traveled in countries where they might have been exposed to SARS talk to their physicians," Wise says. She also encourages anyone who has close contact with someone that visited those countries and who has symptoms to talk to their health provider.
While the CDC and the World Health Organization are continuing to investigate the disease, the CDC has issued recommendations suggesting that people planning elective or non-essential travel to the affected counties postpone their trips until further notice. CDC officials are meeting planes, cargo ships and cruise ships coming directly or indirectly into the United States from China, Singapore and Vietnam and distributing health alert cards to disembarking passengers.
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