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Washoe county resident tested for respiratory disease

Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Washoe County resident who recently returned from Asia is being tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome.

It’s the second suspected case of the disease in Nevada and the first in the northern part of the state.

Washoe District Health Officer Barbara Hunt said the victim, who was not identified, was not acutely ill and was isolated at home. Family members are being monitored for any symptoms of the disease.

The health department also is in contact with the local business where the patient is employed.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct tests for the virus which is believed to cause SARS.

The Clark County Health District reported Monday that an unidentified Las Vegas woman was in isolation at home recovering from a suspected case of SARS.

In the past few weeks, the Washoe District Health Department has investigated eight reported suspect cases, said Tracie Douglas, the health departments public information officer. Seven did not meet the CDC’s case definition for SARS.

To meet the CDC’s case definition, a person must have developed symptoms within two to seven days of traveling to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore or Hanoi, Vietnam or after being in close contact with someone who traveled to one of those places. Symptoms mimic the flu or pneumonia.

As of Wednesday, 199 cases of suspected SARS had been reported in the United States, said CDC spokesman Chuck Fallis.

Authorities say 161 people have died and 3,293 have become ill with SARS in 22 countries, mostly in China and Hong Kong. SARS also has been reported in Europe.

Nevada is now one of about 33 states in the nation where suspected cases of SARS are being investigated.

CDC: 35 U.S. cases “probable” for SARS virus

By DANIEL YEE, Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — About three dozen Americans have probable cases of SARS using the definition of the deadly flu-like disease followed by the rest of the world, federal officials said Thursday.

In all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 208 Americans from 34 states as probable or suspected SARS cases. However, only 35 of them meet the definition for probable cases of the disease set by the World Health Organization.

CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said the agency will begin using the WHO definition because “we don’t want to exaggerate the scope of the problem here by including patients” who would not be considered SARS cases elsewhere.

Many of the suspected U.S. cases had only mild flu-like symptoms, and less than one-quarter were hospitalized. Most were on the list because of recent travel to a part of the world with SARS.

“We did cast a very wide net early on,” Gerberding said. “We know we have many more people in that net than truly have SARS.”

A suspected case is someone with a temperature greater than 100.4 F, a respiratory illness such as cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, and travel to an areas where SARS is common or contact with a SARS patient. A probable case also has X-ray evidence of pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome.

Of the 35 probable cases, 33 had traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore or Hanoi, one was a health care worker who tended to a SARS patient and one was a household contact of a SARS patient.

Lab tests also turned up evidence of the newly identified virus that causes SARS in five of these patients. However, for tests to find direct traces of the virus, they must be conducted early in the disease, before the virus is eradicated by patients’ immune defenses.

Despite the low number of U.S. cases and no fatalities, health officials continue to be alert for more SARS.

“It’s important that we remain vigilant because we are watching with great concern the events in other parts of the world — Hong Kong and Singapore — where there is transmission,” Gerberding said. “We don’t think there is anything unique about the United States” in terms of why the country’s case numbers have been lower than other countries during the SARS epidemic.

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On the Net:

CDC SARS info: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/SARS

World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/en/