Syracuse University watchful in response to suspect SARS case
Syracuse University watchful in response to suspect SARS caseApril 22, 2003Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
A 19-year-old Syracuse University student with a prior respiratory illness has been designated as a suspect Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) case, meaning that he meets the minimal criteria of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The student went on a group trip to Toronto April 11-13. The group arrived back on campus that Sunday night. At 3:30 a.m. Monday (April 14), the individual called home to his mother complaining of a fever and respiratory symptoms.
He went to the University’s health center. He was evaluated and then transported to Crouse Hospital, where he was placed in isolation and treated until he no longer displayed symptoms. On Friday (April 18), he was discharged and went home-out of state-for the weekend. He returned to Syracuse on Sunday (April 20) and attended classes on Monday (April 21).
Late Monday, the Onondaga County Health Department contacted SU’s Health Services about this student after the CDC declared Monday that Toronto had now been designated as a SARS affected area.
SU Health Services then informed the student that he was considered as a possible SARS case. He expressed an interest to return home rather than go back to isolation in Syracuse until his 10-day monitoring period had elapsed. Monday night his mother came to campus, and they returned to the family’s home.
There is no confirmation that this student had or now has Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. He expressed respiratory discomfort prior to going on the Toronto trip and is not currently showing signs of SARS. Neither are those individuals who have had close direct contact with him.
People with whom he has had the most direct contact-his girlfriend and roommates-are being monitored by SU Health Services for SARS symptoms. The Onondaga County Health Department has stated the assessment of risk is low for individuals with whom the student has had contact and virtually no secondary transmission of SARS has been reported in the United States.
SU Health Services has developed a triage mechanism for students who believe they meet the criteria of SARS, which include respiratory signs or symptoms, a body temperature of greater than 100.4 degrees, and travel to areas reporting cases of SARS within seven days of the onset of illness. According to the CDC, areas with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS are the People’s Republic of China (mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region); Hanoi, Vietnam; Singapore; and Toronto, Canada.
Individuals with concerns or who desire more information can contact SU Health Services at 443-2666 or visit the SU Health Services Web site at http://students.syr.edu/parents/sars-faq.pdf