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25 April 2003

State Department Issues SARS-Related Advisory on International Travel

(Some air traffic curtailed; arriving passengers may be screened)
(600)


The U.S. State Department issued an announcement April 24 advising the
public of international restrictions travelers may encounter because
of concerns about the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome
(SARS). The announcement warns that some countries may bar travelers
arriving from SARS-affected areas and may require mandatory health
screening of passengers.


The State Department advises travelers to watch announcements issued
by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
(www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (www.who.int).

Following is the text of the announcement:

(begin text)

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman 

SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME
(SARS)
April 24, 2003

This Public Announcement updates information on medical evacuation of
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-affected individuals, and
notes curtailment of some commercial air travel into and out of
affected countries and potential restrictions on transfer of SARS
patients. This supersedes the Public Announcement issued on
April 11, 2003, and expires on August 23, 2003. 

This Public Announcement reminds Americans that the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a number of travel
advisories for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which are
being posted on its web site (www.cdc.gov). Health alert notices are
being distributed at U.S. airports to people arriving from
SARS-affected areas. Americans planning travel to SARS-affected areas
should monitor the CDC's web site for the latest information. In
addition, Americans should be aware that some countries may bar entry
to those travelers arriving from SARS-affected areas. American
citizens may wish to check with Embassies and/or Consulates of
countries they plan to visit prior to travel. Prospective parents of
adoptees in SARS-affected countries should consult the appropriate
link on adoptions at the CDC website,
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/adoption.htm.

The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are tracking SARS'
origin and method of transmission as well as determining how its
spread can be contained. SARS has severely taxed health care systems
in affected countries; neighboring countries have curtailed flights in
and out of affected locations and blocked transfer of SARS patients
for medical care. In light of the continually evolving nature of the
geographic spread of SARS, American citizens should regularly consult
the CDC's website (www.cdc.gov) and the WHO's website (www.who.int)
for updates.

Strong efforts are being made to contain SARS. Some countries have
implemented measures such as mandatory screening of incoming
passengers at airports, and persons with SARS-like symptoms may be
quarantined and/or sent to designated hospitals until the authorities
are satisfied they do not have SARS.

Medical evacuation of SARS patients remains problematic. Securing
transport and locating a destination willing to accept such patients
is difficult, if not impossible. Since medical evacuation
possibilities may change, family members of SARS patients may wish to
consult with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate General for the latest
information.

Contact Information for the CDC:

Public Inquiries:
English (888) 246-2675
Spanish (888) 246-2857
TTY (866) 874-2646
Mon-Fri 8am-11pm EST
Sat-Sun 10am-8pm EST

Address: 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333
USA(404) 639-3311 

American citizens currently in or planning to travel to SARS-affected
areas should also consult the Consular Information Sheets for these
countries available at the Consular Affairs web site at
http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may also contact the
Department of State toll-free at 1-888-407-4747, or if calling from
overseas, 317-472-2328, for information.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)