Distributed April 24, 2003
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Brown University is monitoring one possible case of SARS

Brown University administrators and public health officials are monitoring a possible case of SARS involving a faculty member who recently traveled to Toronto. All members of the campus community are being notified about that case and are receiving information about SARS.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Administrators at Brown University and public health officials from Massachusetts and Rhode Island are monitoring a possible case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The case involves a faculty member in the Division of Biology and Medicine who recently traveled to Toronto and is now experiencing the flu-like symptoms associated with SARS. The professor is at home in Massachusetts and will remain off campus as long as health officials consider it necessary. The University is contacting persons who may have been in close contact with the professor.

“Because there is no early and reliable diagnosis for SARS, the University is taking great care to follow the CDC’s recommendations and to do everything it can to ensure the health and safety of faculty, staff and students,” said Laura Freid, executive vice president for public affairs and University relations. “We want to be sure that the entire campus community is aware of the symptoms of SARS and knows where to find additional information or medical advice.”

Following recommendations from state health officials and consistent with information from the Centers for Disease Control, University Health Services is contacting approximately 150 students who attended a class lecture given by the professor. Nearly all of those students did not have close personal contact with the professor and are not considered to be at significant risk. Teaching assistants, laboratory staff and faculty colleagues who may have been in closer contact with the professor are receiving additional information, including specific recommendations for monitoring their own health.

In addition to providing information to persons involved in the possible SARS case, the University has taken other steps to ensure the health and safety of the campus community:

  • All faculty, staff and students are receiving an e-mail or printed message which gives them information about the disease and informs them that the University is monitoring a possible case of SARS.
  • That e-mail and the University’s main Web page direct members of the campus community to information resources at the CDC. Employees who do not have access to the Internet are advised to seek information through their supervisors.
  • A SARS task force has been established to monitor the SARS situation beyond campus and to ensure that appropriate policies and contingency plans are in place to maintain the health of the campus community. That task force includes faculty, staff, and representatives from the Office of Student Life and is in regular contact with the public health authorities.