biologicalcontrols.com - Associated
officials brace for return of SARS this winter
By Daniel Yee (taken
from 10/9/2003 Associated Press)
Atlanta - Fear
over the possible return of SARS is so great in the United
States that even if the virus does not appear, it will probably
cause disruption in hospitals this winter, top U.S. health
CDC and other health officials say emergency rooms could be
swamped with suspected cases of the disease.
"Whether the virus comes back this winter or not, we
will be dealing with SARS," said Dr. James Hughes, director of the National
Center for Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "When
people start showing up with respiratory diseases, physicians will be thinking
Health officials are worried that doctors with limited SARS
experience easily could confuse early SARS symptoms with the flu. To clarify
matters, the CDC is working on a plan for doctors and hospitals to prevent outbreaks.
Hospital officials will be on the lookout foe severe acute
respiratory syndrome cases this winter because of the seasonal nature of such
SARS emerged in China last November, but it was not until
the spring when researches identified SARS as a new kind of virus. Through July,
when the virus' activity subsided, SARS had affected nearly 8,100 people, killing
774 worldwide. There were 74 probable U.S. cases and no deaths.
Research on a vaccine and antiviral treatments is under way,
but it could be years before any new drugs reach the market.