-- The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), in collaboration
with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today
reported a second suspected case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
(SARS) in New Jersey.
Jersey’s second suspected case is among 116 cases being investigated
nationwide. There have been no known SARS deaths in the United States
to date. Worldwide, 2,353 cases, including 84 deaths, have been
reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
new suspected case involves a 30-year old female who traveled to
Asia on March 15 and returned on March 30. On March 24, while in
Asia, she developed cough, intermittent fever and occasional shortness
The woman denied contact with any ill individuals during her trip.
She did not receive medical attention in Asia, but reported taking
The woman, who works in New York City, saw her physician at work
on March 30. Chest x-rays and lab test were normal. Specimens were
collected and forwarded to the CDC by the New York City Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The woman was never hospitalized and is at home recovering. Her
symptoms have improved although a cough persists.
The first suspected SARS patient in New Jersey, a 36-year-old female,
was treated in a North Jersey hospital and released on March 17.
She recovered fully.
In both instances, no family members or health care worker contacts
have developed respiratory illness.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a form of atypical pneumonia
occurring in a person who has traveled to a country with an outbreak
or come in contact with a person with SARS. SARS, the cause of which
has not yet been identified, begins as an influenza-like illness,
with such symptoms as rapid onset of high fever, muscle aches, headache,
sore throat, dry cough and shortness of breath. X-rays may show
pneumonia and/or other changes. Laboratory tests show low numbers
of white blood cells and platelets. Some cases worldwide, but only
one in the United States, have involved respiratory failure requiring
"Education and awareness on the part of the public are important
weapons in the fight against this emerging global health threat,”
said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
The World Health Organization has urged all travelers to be aware
of the symptoms associated with SARS and has recommended that persons
traveling to Hong Kong and the Guangdong Province of China, two
of the most affected areas, postpone all but essential travel.
Suspected or probable cases have been reported to the WHO from
the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China,
Taiwan, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland,
Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.
The CDC has developed health alerts for individuals entering the
United States. These alerts are being distributed at all U.S. airports
that receive international flights, including Newark Liberty International
“The most important measure to prevent transmission of this
infection is for health care practitioners to identify potential
cases and then immediately institute infection control practices,
including isolation, “ said Eddy Bresnitz, M.D., State Epidemiologist
and Assistant Commissioner.
The DHSS has held weekly teleconferences with New Jersey hospitals
and public health agencies to provide updates, explain how to identify
potential cases and to detail appropriate reporting mechanisms.
Health officials in New Jersey have been instructed to immediately
report any suspected cases by telephone to both DHSS and local health
officials. The DHSS maintains close communication regarding SARS
with the CDC and New Jersey’s public health and health care
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.