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CDC Reinstates Travel Alert for Toronto

CDC Reinstates Travel Alert for Toronto

CDC lifted the travel alert on May 20, 2003, because over 30 days (or two SARS incubation periods) had elapsed since the date of onset of symptoms for the last reported case. However, on May 22, Canadian health officials reported a cluster of four old probable SARS cases, which led to today’s reinstatement of CDC’s travel alert for Toronto.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has reinstated a travel alert for Toronto, Canada, because of reports of old possible cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

In response to the outbreak of SARS, CDC has issued two types of notices to travelers: advisories & alerts. A travel advisory recommends that non-essential travel to an area be postponed. A travel alert does not advise against travel to a particular area, but informs travelers of a health concern & provides advice about precautions they can take to reduce their risk of exposure.

CDC is again recommending that U.S. travelers to Toronto take precautions to safeguard their health. These include avoiding settings where there has been evidence of transmission of SARS, such as health care settings. CDC does not recommend the routine use of masks or other personal protective equipment while in public areas.

CDC also recommends that travelers to Toronto practice careful hand hygiene – a first line of defense for reducing an individual’s risk of a variety of infectious diseases, such as SARS. As a general rule, CDC recommends frequent hand washing with soap & water. If hands are not visibly soiled, alcohol-based hand rubs may be used as an alternative.

Global Migration & Quarantine officials from CDC will again be distributing health alert cards to travelers returning to the United States from Toronto. The cards outline the symptoms of SARS & recommend that people returning from Toronto monitor their health for 10 days & alert their physician if they create a fever or respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or shortness of breath.