SARS Update

To date, there have not been any cases of SARS diagnosed in Iowa. Spread of this infection continues in other parts of the world. Therefore, we must remain vigilant so that we can identify any cases that are encountered at the UIHC.

Today in the NEJM’s electronic journal, Drs. Wenzel and Edmond published an article on SARS in which they say “From the perspective of clinicians, all cases of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) are currently suspect . . . .” For clinicians at the UIHC this means that SARS should be in the differential diagnosis for all patients with CAP AND that clinicians must immediately rule in or out this diagnosis by inquiring about travel to areas where SARS has been transmitted and about exposure to persons who may have had SARS. This does NOT mean that all patients with CAP should go into SARS isolation (Combination Precautions) and have their laboratory specimens treated like “SARS specimens.” Only patients with CAP AND an appropriate travel or exposure history should be placed in Combination Precautions and have their laboratory specimens labeled “SARS.”

SARS Exposure Assessment