COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

In response to the ongoing concerns regarding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the district’s health technicians met to review the most recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After a review of the literature and discussion on the health risks posed by SARS, we determined that parents should receive information, as a matter of good public health policy and practice, through the school newsletter.

There is no evidence that SARS is spreading widely in the United States. Most cases of SARS have been from people who have traveled to affected areas. A very small number of people have become sick after being in close contact with a SARS patient. In Marin County there has been one suspected case of SARS identified and one probable case identified to date.

Although these identified cases are very small, careful attention to good health practice and infection-control precautions are always important. People with symptoms are to use infection-control precautions to minimize transmission.

The symptoms and signs of SARS include:

  • The illness usually begins with a fever greater than 100.4° F. Fever may be accompanied by typical symptoms that include chills, headache, general feeling of discomfort and body aches.
  • After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry, nonproductive cough and shortness of breath
  • Victims have traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and Toronto, or have been in direct contact with a person who has been diagnosed with SARS.

If you are ill with any of these symptoms, call your health care provider and include any information about recent travel and or contacts. Exposed students who develop fever or respiratory symptoms should monitor their symptoms for 72 hours. If symptoms do not worsen you may return to school. If symptoms progress, call your physician and do not attend school. For the most recent information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars or call the CDC public response hotline at 888-246-2675 (English), 888-246-2857 (Español), or 866-874-2646 (TTY).

The health technician at your student’s school is also available to answer your questions.

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