SARS scare reaches Southwest Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SARS scare reaches Southwest Georgia

April 10, 2003

Albany -- Two more Georgians are suspected of having SARS, the mysterious flu-like illness that has affected more than 26 hundred people worldwide. Both cases involve people in Metro Atlanta, who recently returned from China.

 But South Georgia hospital health professionals say they are on guard for patients who might have the Severe Respiratory Syndrome. Beth Sykes, a Physicians Assistant at Palmyra Medical Centers, keeps a close eye on the patient's she sees in the Emergency Room. She is aware that SARS is now in Georgia.

 Sykes said "What we call a differential diagnosis, SARS becomes part of it. We have to be aware of it, looking for it."

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has people in the Far East panicked. But the fast spreading flu like illness has now been found in 4 people in Georgia. Sykes though says you are not at risk. "We have to be very diligent about staying on top of it. To make sure it doesn't go from isolated populations like China, to where we are seeing it in America. Which we didn't think we would see."

Health officials keep these handy for protection. An N-95 mask, rubber gloves, and surgical gowns. Sykes says your best defense is a healthy lifestyle. "But we have not been able to get a handle on what we can do to treat it. So it could be around for a while? Could be."

152 Americans have been affected by SARS, most have recently traveled to affected Asian Countries. Beth Sykes says she has cancelled a planned trip to Japan later this month, because of the SARS outbreak.

posted at 4:06 by jimw@walb.com