PASSENGER HELD, RELEASED AT GUAM AIRPORT IN SARS SCARE

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 4) - Airport and health
personnel had an unexpected trial run yesterday for what they will do if a
passenger with symptoms of a deadly mystery disease arrives at Guam's airport.

Officials from the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport,
Guam, temporarily held a man who stepped off a flight from Japan yesterday
afternoon because he showed flu-like symptoms.

The passenger was detained until a Guam doctor examined him and
determined he did not have severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. The man,
who arrived aboard a Japan Airlines flight, was later released.

About 78 people have died and more than 2,200 from several
countries have been infected since the disease was first detected in China in
November.

There are procedures in place outlining what officials will do
if there is a suspected or confirmed SARS case reported at the airport, said
airport General Manager Bill Thompson during a press conference at the airport
yesterday.

The passenger did not visit the countries -- particularly in
East Asia -- where the disease is most prevalent, nor did he have respiratory
problems, said Department of Public Health and Social Services epidemiologist
Dr. Robert Haddock, who examined the passenger.

The third criterion for having SARS is whether the person has
been in close contact with someone who has the disease, Public Health's medical
director Dr. Paula Brinkley said.

Customs or immigration officials will isolate those who meet the
criteria until a medical professional can examine them. If they are determined
to have the disease, they will be sent to Guam Memorial Hospital's emergency
room.

Public Health, customs and immigration officials have been
passing out cards to passengers arriving from Hong Kong and Taiwan, asking them
to contact their health-care providers and local officials if they develop a
fever or respiratory problems, Brinkley said.

Those who become ill within 10 days after arriving here will be
sent to the hospital. Others sitting near those passengers also will be
contacted, she said.

April 4, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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