SARS Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

May 13, 2003

This Public Announcement updates information on medical evacuation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-affected individuals, and notes curtailment of some commercial air travel into and out of affected countries and potential restrictions on travel of SARS patients. This supersedes the Public Announcement issued on April 24, 2003, and expires on September 7, 2003.

This Public Announcement reminds Americans that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a number of travel advisories for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which are being posted on its web site (www.cdc.gov). Health alert notices are being distributed at U.S. airports to people arriving from SARS-affected areas. Americans planning travel to SARS-affected areas should monitor the CDC's web site for the latest information. In addition, Americans should be aware that some countries may bar entry to or quarantine travelers arriving from SARS-affected areas. Should a U.S. Mission in a country become aware of such entry restrictions, it may advise U.S. government employees to postpone non-essential travel to that country. This information would also be posted with the consular information sheet for that country on our web site, travel.state.gov, or travelers can contact our information line at 1-888-407-4747. Prospective parents of adoptees in SARS-affected countries should consult the appropriate link on adoptions at the CDC website, www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/adoption.htm.

The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are tracking SARS's origin and method of transmission as well as determining how its spread can be contained. SARS has severely taxed health care systems in affected countries; neighboring countries have curtailed flights in and out of affected locations and blocked transfer of SARS patients for medical care. In light of the continually evolving nature of the geographic spread of SARS, American citizens should regularly consult the CDC's website (www.cdc.gov) and the WHO's website (www.who.int) for updates.

Strong efforts are being made to contain SARS. Some countries have implemented measures such as mandatory screening of incoming passengers at airports, and persons with SARS-like symptoms may be quarantined and/or sent to designated hospitals until the authorities are satisfied they do not have SARS.

Medical evacuation of SARS patients remains problematic. Securing transport and locating a destination willing to accept such patients is difficult, if not impossible. Since medical evacuation possibilities may change, family members of SARS patients may wish to consult with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate General for the latest information.

Contact Information for the CDC:

Public Inquiries:
English (888) 246-2675
Spanish (888) 246-2857
TTY (866) 874-2646
Mon-Fri 8am-11pm EST
Sat-Sun 10am-8pm EST

Address:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333
USA(404) 639-3311

American citizens currently in or planning to travel to SARS-affected areas should also consult the Consular Information Sheets for these countries available at the Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may also contact the Department of State toll-free at 1-888-407-4747, or, if calling from overseas, 317-472-2328, for information.

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