SARS Pneumonia Closes Second Toronto Hospital; Doctor Who First Recognized SARS Has Died of SARS

"The global epidemic continues to expand.  We recognize this is an epidemic that is evolving."

- 3/29/03 Julie Gerberding, M. D., Director,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

 

March 30, 2003 Toronto, Ontario, Canada - The severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, attacks the tiny alveoli lung sacs that get oxygen from the blood in normal healthy people. When alveoli are destroyed and eaten up, as SARS seems to do, people cannot get oxygen to breath and suffer acidosis, too much carbon dioxide in their blood. Until now, medical authorities have hoped this new and still unidentified disease was not contagious through the air.

But in less than a week, Toronto health officials have closed a second hospital because the SARS pneumonia continues to spread despite quarantines, fueling growing concerns that in fact the new pathogen can spread through the air. Toronto's York Central Hospital has been closed to new patients and hundreds of its employees have been asked to quarantine themselves at home for the next ten days in an effort to contain the ongoing outbreak of SARS. Toronto's Scarborough Grace Hospital was also closed to new patients on March 26, and employees were asked to quarantine themselves at home. So far, SARS has infected 37 people in Canada and killed three.

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