Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

SARS Update

April 24, 2003

SARS: Further precautionary measures

Last updated May 2

Due to the changing nature of travel advisories related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the University is advising that people planning to travel seek guidance from travel agents.

In light of the increasing level of concern about SARS and related travel issues, the University is implementing further precautionary measures. The SARS Advisory Committee on campus continues to monitor this situation on a daily basis and will post updates or changes as appropriate.

At this time, Health Canada has confirmed reports of SARS outbreaks in the City of Hanoi, Vietnam; the People's Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Singapore; and Taiwan, as well as the occurrence of isolated cases in other countries. This information is available on Health Canada’s website.

Due to the mounting concern about transmission of the SARS virus, the University is now strongly recommending that travel to the aforementioned countries be deferred until further notice. Where possible, anyone coming from these regions should delay their arrival until further notice.

In addition, anyone who has travelled to these areas should refrain from coming to any of the University of Guelph campuses for 10 days following their arrival in Canada. Students who fall into this category and are living on campus will be isolated and should contact Student Housing Services prior to their arrival. Should a fever AND one or more of the following respiratory symptoms occur - cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing - please report to Guelph General Hospital for further screening. While the vast majority of travellers with these symptoms have not developed SARS, it is nevertheless important to ensure that people who develop symptoms stay away from other people until they receive medical advice. These actions are very important for controlling the spread of SARS. Faculty and staff who have employment or sick leave questions that relate to travel or isolation plans should contact their service co-ordinator in Human Resources or call Occupational Health Services at Ext. 52133.

Toronto has also been identified as an area of concern. Several health agencies have noted that SARS transmission in Toronto has been limited to a small number of hospitals, households and specific community settings. Region-specific information on SARS in Canada is available at Health Canada’s website.

In response, the University is requiring that anyone who has visited a Toronto health-care facility that is caring for SARS patients not come to campus for 10 days. In addition, the University is requiring that anyone who has had potential contact with someone who is a suspected or probable case of SARS not come to campus for 10 days, contact Public Health at (519) 821-2370 and monitor themselves for symptoms.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit has reported two cases of suspected SARS in this region. The first from Listowel was diagnosed as Influenza A. Recently, a second case has been identified as suspected SARS. Information on the regional management of SARS is available through the Health Unit’s website.

Further details of the SARS advisories are available on the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website , or by calling the SARS hotline, 1-888-668-4636, or Telehealth Ontario, 1-800-454-8302.

People who have questions about other issues related to SARS should contact either Student Health Services at Ext. 54333, or, in the case of faculty and staff, Occupational Health Services at Ext. 52133.

Student Health Services, like other medical clinics and hospitals in the region, continues to take precautionary screening measures.

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