Is SARS worse than they tell us?

by JH 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • JH
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    Thousands quarantined in Canada over SARS

    TORONTO, Canada (CNN) -- More than 5,000 people are in quarantine in Toronto,including students from one high school, as Canadian officials try to contain a new SARS outbreak.

    Students and staff at Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy near Toronto were told to quarantine themselves for 10 days after officials reported a student with SARS symptoms attended the school last week.

    About 5,100 people are under quarantine in Ontario, according to Dr. Colin D'Cunha, Ontario's commissioner for public health. Unlike isolation, which applies to those with SARS symptoms, quarantine is for people without the symptoms but who have come into contact with SARS cases.

    In addition, an unknown number of health care workers are in "working quarantine," which means they may continue to work around patients under strict guidelines such as taking private transportation to their jobs and donning protective wear that must be changed with each new patient.

    As quarantine figures rise, the number of SARS deaths and cases are also increasing.

    Two elderly women died of the SARS virus in the Toronto area, D'Cunha, reported Wednesday taking the total death toll in Canada from the disease to 29.

    The deaths came as officials announced two more SARS cases for a total of 34 -- 11 are probable, and 23 are suspect.

    Canadian officials are forming a temporary alliance among four Toronto-area hospitals in their effort to isolate and control the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

    All treatment and expertise related to SARS will be concentrated at the four facilities, allowing the rest of the area's health care system to keep running smoothly during the current flare-up, said Tony Clement, Ontario's minister of health and long-term care.

    Toronto was put back on the World Health Organization's list of SARS-affected areas Monday after new cases of the disease were reported.

    Canada thought it had contained SARS and declared itself free of the disease a week ago but has found itself struggling with the largest outbreak outside Asia.

    Canadian officials say the new cluster of cases have been traced to a 96-year-old man who died May 1 after two bouts of pneumonia that hospital workers did not link to SARS until the new cases emerged.

    "The first case of the second outbreak was under the radar screen for a while because he was not exhibiting the typical SARS' symptoms that health professionals have been used to," said Tony Clement, Ontario's minister of health.

    Abating in Asia?

    Taiwan reported 50 new probable cases of SARS Thursday, including 40 patients who were reclassified from suspect to probable infections, Reuters reported. No deaths were reported in Thursday in Taiwan, the third-hardest hit area in the world.

    Taiwan lags only behind mainland China and Hong Kong in total SARS cases, but is currently the most active region for the outbreak.

    In China, where the number of new cases is dwindling in its urban centers, the government on Thursday made prevention and treatment of the disease in the country's vast rural areas a top priority.

    China's Health Ministry announced the smallest rise in the number of SARS cases in mainland China since the government began tracking the illness.

    The ministry confirmed three new cases -- bringing the total to 5,325 -- and two new SARS-related deaths, raising the death toll to 327.

    The ministry said all of the new cases and one of the deaths occurred in the hard-hit capital of Beijing. The other death was in neighboring Hebei province.

    The government acknowledged the SARS situation "remains grave," saying that to put SARS under complete control "the key is in the countryside," where the majority of China's 1.3 billion people live.

    Russia confirmed its first SARS case on Wednesday, a 25-year-old man who lives in a town bordering China. (Full story)

    Reuters contributed to this report.
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  • rocketman

    Seems everything is worse than what we're told.

  • Shakita

    The number quarantined is now up to 7,000. They say it has peeked, but the number keeps rising. What's with that?

    May. 29, 2003. 05:34 PM
    >Flash: SARS primer
    >Ministry of Health fact sheet
    >Health Canada updates
    >World Health Organization
    >City of Toronto: SARS
    >Toronto Public Health
    >Voices:Tribute to SARS workers
    >BCGSC: Download the genetic code
    >Full text of Section 22
    >More SARS coverage
    >Opinion: More nurses needed (May 29)
    >Dispute brews over numbers (May 29)
    >City of Toronto: SARS facts
    >CDC report on SARS among health workers
    >Telehealth Ontario
    >Health Canada: Public Health
    >World Health Organization warning
    >CDC: SARS warnings
    >Should I wear a mask?
    >Will pools, saunas spread SARS?
    >Difference between 'suspect' and 'probable'
    >Will EI compensate victims?
    >Virus spread by droplets
    More than 7,000 in quarantine from SARS


    More than 7,000 people were in quarantine in Ontario today because of possible exposure to SARS and the number of probable cases rose to 33 in the second cluster of the disease that was recognized last week.

    The number of suspect cases in the new cluster is 29, said Dr. Colin D'Cunha, Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

    The new tallies were released as the leading doctor on the containment team said the city's second outbreak may have peaked and Health Canada moved to adopt a new definition of probable SARS that will more accurately reflect the scope of the problem.

    A spike in the numbers was expected as Ontario moved to the new definition, which is back in line with how the province was reporting figures during the first outbreak of the disease starting in mid-March.

    D'Cunha said there are currently 29 active probable cases in hospital, including five from the old cluster and 24 in the new cluster. Yesterday, using the old definition, there were 12 active probable SARS cases.

    At least a couple of Section 22 orders have been issued to force people to obey isolation orders, officials said.

    Students and staff of a high school in Markham are among those in quarantine.

    Dr. Donald Low, one of Canada's leading infectious disease experts, says the spread of the disease may have peaked earlier this week.

    "The sense we get is the wave is behind us. What's shaking out now are the numbers," Low said. "The sense is that we probably peaked on Monday, Tuesday."

    In Ottawa, Health Minister Anne McLellan explained that Health Canada's first definition of probable SARS was devised in the early days of the initial SARS outbreak in consultation with provincial and territorial chief medical officers.

    "That definition was in place before the WHO had finalized their definition," she said in the House of Commons.

    "However, because of recent discussions with the WHO, it is very likely that we will move to their definition of probable cases."

    A few minutes later, her department's point man on SARS said Health Canada would align its definition with the WHO's, in the interest of ease and transparency.

    It's crucial that Canada provide the world — and the WHO — with as complete and accurate a picture as possible, said Dr. Paul Gully, head of the department's population and public health branch.

    "We think it will help us in terms of clarity and WHO, because it's really important to keep their confidence."

    Whether Toronto becomes the subject of another WHO advisory may depend on it, said Gully, who noted while the organization has criteria for triggering a travel advisory, numbers aren't the only factors involved.

    "Behind that, the decision of a travel advisory is taken at a higher level. And that would depend on confidence."

    Low sparked a firestorm yesterday when he criticized the use of the Health Canada definition, saying it had the effect of artificially deflating the number of probable cases by moving more people into the less problematic suspect category.

    Ontario officials had originally used the WHO definition, but switched to the Health Canada one in early to mid April. The clinicians were not informed of the switch at that time.

    It only came to light last weekend, as doctors were scrambling to assess large numbers of patients from the new cluster, creating the impression that the switch may have been made in a bid to make the outbreak look less serious than it was.

    Doctors treat probable and suspect SARS cases in the same manner, because they believe both can spread the disease. Many, like Low, believe when a good diagnostic test is discovered, retrospective testing will show that both groups had SARS, but one had a milder form.

    But probable cases are crucial from a public relations point of view, because it is the number of probable cases that the World Health Organization uses to determine whether a travel advisory urging international travellers to steer clear of a SARS-affected area is warranted.

    Toronto's latest bout with SARS — SARS 2 as it's being called locally — had been spreading, undetected, through several area hospitals for the past five weeks.

    It only broke on the radar screens of public health officials when large numbers of health-care workers began to get sick. That started occurring after May 15, when hospital workers in non-SARS wards were told they did not need to be masked at all times.

    The outbreak appears to have begun at North York General Hospital, where it spread in the orthopedic and psychiatric wards. A patient transferred from the orthopedic ward to St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital took the disease along with her, infecting up to six others there.

    Three other city hospitals — Toronto General, St. Michael's and Scarborough General — received undetected infected patients in transfers from those two facilities. That led to the quarantining of staff in all three and the infection of staff in one and possibly two of those hospitals.

    In the days that followed, scores of sick health-care workers and family members of sick patients started showing up in emergency rooms with SARS-like symptoms.

    But that flow appears to be petering off, Low said.

    "When you're looking at the epi curve, the wave started to rise on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and it crested on Sunday and Monday night. And now we're on the downside," Low said.

    An epi curve charts when people began to get sick and shows retrospectively when an outbreak began, peaked and ended.

    "Today I think maybe only two people have come in as opposed to five, six days ago when you had like 10, 12 people in Emerg," he said, using the Canadian shorthand for an emergency room.

    "And I think that's the same sense I get from Scarborough General. The same feeling is that the wave has crested."

    CP 1628ES 29-05-03

    Taken from

    Mrs. Shakita

  • Uzzah

    Health Canada has the following website which provides the latest accurate information without any of teh traditional media spin (fear mongering, sensationalization, or minimizing).

    It is a good way to keep informed as to what is happening with this latest round of infections.

  • DonnieDarko

    Interesting....The SARS infection rate is said to top-out at around 5%. The Spanish infuenza epidemic which killed about 20mil in 1918 had an infection rate of 1%. Something wicked this way comes..."

  • jgnat

    Is SARS not as bad as we fear? Consider that ONE KID with SARS-like symptoms walked around a school with 1,700 kids for THREE DAYS. In the interest of caution, every kid in that school was sent home in quarantine.

    Cautious, yes. Are all 1700 kids gonna die, die, die? Of course not.


    Thanks Uzzah.

    That was a terrific link, and has all the sensationalism and media hype removed, to give the enquiring reader: the facts.

    I live and work in downtown Toronto, in fact, right in the southend of Toronto's Chinatown.

    Has SARS affected tourism and business? Yes.

    But...we're still standing, and I'm still fine, only coughing from second hand smoke from the patrons at the bar.

    Every precaution is being taken.

    Otherwise, the denizens of Toronto, are still living life.

    And for those who haven't been here, just to let you know.....Toronto is not a village or small town. The city itself is over 2.5 million in population, and about 5 million in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Chances of coming into contact with SARS is extremely low.

    People wearing masks in public? Haven't seen 1.

  • xjw_b12

    Here's another viewpoint.

    I was listening to CBC radio a few weeks ago, when the original SARS outbreak was in full swing.

    They were interviewing a gentleman, (not sure of his accreditation) who commented, that perhaps we were going about this the wrong way.

    His viewpoint was that with an incubation period of 10 days, it will become impossible to quarantine everbody, and that we should just let SARS run it's course, and let our bodies build up our immunities.

    The other point he touched on was that the financial costs of trying to stop SARS will become insurmountable.

    Any comments ?

  • jgnat

    Ewwwww, xjw. I do hope that "expert" is not working for the WHO. There is a reason we contain some viruses. They are killers.

    Do we let AIDS run it's course? How about Smallpox? The bubonic plague has a cycle hundreds of years long, and does leave SOME survivors to pass on their immunity to their offspring.

    Let the common cold run it's course. Nobody will die from THAT. SARS is a killer. I say, kill it back.

  • Hamas


    Just another media frenzy over a glorified Flu bug.

    Don't worry about it.

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