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  March 31, 2003

Student Hospitalized With Suspected Case Of SARS

An undergraduate student at the Storrs campus who took an international flight in March has presented symptoms consistent with the National Centers for Disease Control's definition for a suspected case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or abnormal chest X-ray. For more information, visit the Student Health Services website, or the Centers for Disease Control site.

The student, who lives off campus, was admitted to the hospital on March 26 and is stable and listed in fair condition.

The Department of Public Health (DPH) is investigating the case and monitoring family members and healthcare workers who came in close contact with this individual. None had become ill by press time last Thursday.

UConn administrators are working closely with DPH to keep students, faculty, and staff informed. Because the student attended classes for several days after symptoms began, efforts were undertaken to provide relevant information to students,

faculty, and staff who may have had close casual contact with the affected student. On Thursday and Friday, Michael Kurland, director of student health services, and DPH officials visited the classes the student had attended last week and spoke directly with the other students in the classes. An e-mail from DPH was sent to the entire Storrs campus community by President Philip E. Austin.

DPH has advised students who had close casual contact with the ill student, defined by DPH as individuals who spent at least an hour with the affected student in an enclosed space, such as a classroom, to monitor their health and to notify their healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms consistent with SARS. Transmission in settings where contact is relatively brief, such as schools or churches, has not been documented, however, and is believed unlikely to occur, according to officials at DPH. Students who develop the symptoms of SARS but who did not have close casual contact with the ill student should treat the symptoms as they normally would, DPH officials said.

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