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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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Isolation Measures Enacted to Stop SARS

Drastic Steps Taken To Prevent Spread of Mysterious Illness

How SARS Spreads continued...

"Coronaviruses can survive in the environment for up to two or three hours, and so it's possible that a contaminated object could serve as a vehicle for transfer to someone else," said CDC director Julie Gerberding, MD, in a briefing on Saturday.

A previously unknown form of a coronavirus is thought to be responsible for sudden acute respiratory syndrome. Other coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold.

Gerberding says people with SARS seem to be most contagious when their symptoms first begin. Early symptoms of SARS may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever (over 100.4 degrees)
  • Respiratory symptoms, such as cough, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath

Gerberding says people with a history of travel to the affected areas in Asia or contacts with SARS patients should contact a medical provider immediately if they develop any symptoms of an illness.

The CDC also expanded its travel advisory to include all of mainland China, Hanoi, Vietnam, and Singapore. People planning non-essential travel to these areas are advised to postpone their trips until further notice.

In addition, CDC officials extended the monitoring period for incoming passengers from these areas from seven to 10 days. The agency is currently meeting flights and ships arriving from these areas at 20 U.S. ports of entry and distributing health alert notices advising passengers to be alert for possible SARS symptoms.

At this point, neither CDC nor WHO has issued travel restrictions to the areas hardest hit by the outbreak.

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