While there are no confirmed cases of the mysterious severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus on campus, University administrators and health-care professionals want the University community to be knowledgeable and aware about the disease.
The situation is changing on a daily basis and a Web site — sars.wustl.edu — has been established to help keep faculty, staff and students informed.
To date, SARS has been primarily centered in Asia (mainland China and Hong Kong, Singapore, and Hanoi, Vietnam) as well as Toronto. At this time, there is no indication of community spread of SARS in the United States.
No member of the Washington University community has been diagnosed with SARS, nor have any confirmed cases of SARS been treated in our affiliated hospitals or clinics.
However, in view of recent travel advisories, the University will not support travel to the affected areas by students, faculty members or administrators until further notice. SARS is a serious illness and the administration is working to minimize the impact on our community.
Symptoms of SARS include:
• Fever of greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius);
• Chills or uncontrollable shaking;
• Headache, fatigue and muscle aches;
• Respiratory symptoms such as dry, nonproductive cough, or shortness of breath;
• Travel within 10 days of onset of symptoms to or from an area with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS;
• Close contact within 10 days of onset of symptoms with either a person with a respiratory illness who traveled to a SARS area or a person known to be a suspect SARS case.
Students, faculty and staff who may be ill with symptoms and contact history consistent with SARS should call the University’s Student Health and Counseling answer line at 726-9838. You will be advised regarding the best way to access health care.
Any student, faculty or staff member returning from any of the affected areas should also contact this number for further information.
The University is working in cooperation with St. Louis-area health departments and with guidance from experts in the School of Medicine to provide current information about this evolving situation.
For further information, visit these SARS Web sites:
• The University’s, sars.wustl.edu;
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, cdc.gov/ncidod/sars; and
• The World Health Organization’s, who.int/csr/sars/en.
These sites are updated frequently, and the University’s recently established site will be updated as more information is known about how SARS will affect the University and its operations.
As the University’s May 16 Commencement approaches, many students and parents are questioning whether they need to take any special precautions with respect to SARS.
It is recommended that individuals who have recently been in areas most affected by SARS consider not traveling to St. Louis for the graduation ceremonies. SARS may be contagious before the onset of symptoms, and University administration wants to be sure there is a safe environment for all our graduates and their guests.
Individuals who choose to travel from SARS-affected areas should contact (314) 726-9838 to arrange medical screening. Commencement will be broadcast live on the Internet at commencement.wustl.edu, and videotapes will be made available afterward.