April 10, 2003
HONOLULU - Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) officials today
sent new guidance to help physicians control the spread of Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to Hawaii.
"Our plan of attack is one of detection and isolation," said Paul
Effler, M.D., State Epidemiologist. "The information that we are
sending to physicians now is meant to bolster the already high level of
cooperation among healthcare providers.
The guidance includes steps physicians can take to protect against
possible SARS transmission, including having staff members conduct
initial screening over the phone before a patient comes to the office.
Also detailed in the materials, how and when a physician should report
a possible or suspect SARS case and what information will be needed to
help the Disease Investigation Branch rapidly assess the situation and
In addition to these new guidelines, DOH contacts 45 medical
facilities daily looking for possible SARS cases. This active
surveillance monitors any increase in the number of respiratory cases
seen by island physicians as well as any patients admitted with
possible SARS like symptoms.
"The public needs to know that we have good disease outbreak control
measures in place to protect the state, said Chiyome Fukino, M.D.
Director of the Hawaii State Department of Health. "Rapid, accurate and
accessible communication between physicians and public health employees
is a vital part of that protection and that’s what these
guidelines are meant to enhance."
- Fever higher than100.4°F and
- One or more respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of
breath, difficulty in breathing and
- Either close contact with a person diagnosed with SARS or recent
travel to areas with documented transmission of SARS.
Detailed information is also available through the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention at 1(888) 246-2675 or www.cdc.gov and via the World
Health Organization web site at www.who.int .
For more information, contact:
Phone: (808) 586-4442
Laura M. Lott
Phone: (808) 586-4418