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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
R. Lacy, M.D.
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TRENTON -- The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today reported a third suspected case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s third suspected case is among 148 cases being investigated nationwide. There have been no known SARS deaths in the United States to date. Worldwide, 2,671 cases, including 101 deaths, have been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The third suspected case of SARS in New Jersey involves a 36-year-old South Jersey female who traveled to Asia two weeks ago to visit family. She returned to the United States on March 30. The woman reported muscle aches and feeling ill during a stopover in Amsterdam on her return trip. She traveled alone and denied contact with any ill individuals while traveling.
The woman went to a Pennsylvania hospital for evaluation on March 31. Her symptoms included cough, muscle soreness, diarrhea and light sensitivity.
The patient remains in the hospital in stable condition.
The first suspected case of SARS in New Jersey involved a 36-year old female who traveled to Asia on February 19 and returned to the United States on March 2. She was treated in a North Jersey hospital and released on March 17. She has fully recovered.
The second suspected case involved a 30-year old female who traveled to Asia on March 15 and returned on March 30. The woman was treated by her physician at work in New York City on March 30. She was never hospitalized and remains at home recovering.
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 mechanical ventilation.
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, Brazil, Canada, China, Taiwan, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore, Spain, 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 Airport.
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 communities.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.
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