(SARS) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
The following information addresses health and safety concerns of UNC Pembroke students, faculty and staff regarding ongoing outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) around the world. The following recommendations are intended to guide students, faculty and staff who are planning international travel and study abroad, as well as those returning from high risk international locations.
1. What is SARS?
Severe Acute Respiratory illness that has recently been reported in Asia, North America and Europe. SARS is a disease that usually begins with a fever greater than 100.4 degrees fahrenheit (greater than 38.0 degrees celsius). Other symptoms may include headache, and overall feeling of discomfort, and body aches. Some people may also experience mild respiratory symptoms. After 2-7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough and have trouble breathing.
2. How is SARS spread?
SARS appears to spread primarily by close person-to-person contact. Most cases have involved people who cared for or lived with someone with SARS, or who had direct contact with infectious material (for example, respiratory secretions) from a person who has SARS. Potential ways in which SARS can be spread include touching the skin of other persons or objects that are contaminated with infectious droplets and then touching the eye, nose, or mouth. This can happen when people who are sick with SARS cough or sneeze droplets onto themselves, others, or nearby surfaces. SARS may also be spread more broadly through the air or by other means that are currently not known.
3. Who is at risk for SARS?
Most of the U.S. cases of SARS have occurred among travelers returning to the United States from other parts of the world with SARS. There have been very few cases as a result of spread to close contacts such as family members and health care workers.
4. Should I travel?
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued two types of notices to travelers: advisories and alerts. A travel advisory recommends that nonessential travel be deferred; a travel alert does not advise against travel, but informs travelers of a health concern and provides advice about specific precautions.
5. For individuals who must travel to an area with SARS.
Wash your hands frequently to protect against SARS infection. Avoid close contact with large numbers of people as much as possible to minimize the possibility of infection.
6. After travel from an affected area.
Monitor your health for SARS symptoms for at least 10 days. Take your temperature daily. At the first sign of a fever or respiratory problem, telephone a health care provider for advice and arrange for a medical evaluation. Students should call UNCP Student Health Services at (910) 521-6219 and ask to speak with a nurse. To help the health care provider make a diagnosis, tell them about any recent travel to places where SARS has been reported or whether there was contact with someone who had these symptoms.
7. Students exposed to SARS:
Exposed students should notify school officials and their health-care provider immediately if fever or respiratory symptoms develop. In advance of clinical evaluation, health-care providers should be informed that the student may have been exposed to SARS so arrangements can be made as necessary to prevent transmission to others in the health-care setting.
8. Web sites:
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2006
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