Woman is Md.'s third suspected SARS case

Baltimorean in isolation after a visit to Toronto

April 29, 2003|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

Baltimore health officials said yesterday that a 34-year-old woman who developed symptoms of SARS after a trip to Toronto is in isolation at her Southwest Baltimore home - Maryland's third suspected case of the deadly respiratory illness.

Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, the city health commissioner, said the woman, who works at a correctional facility in Northern Virginia, came down with a dry cough and fever after visiting family in Toronto between April 9 and 14.

The woman went to the emergency room at St. Agnes Hospital on Friday, Beilenson said, but had a temperature of 100.4 degrees - not high enough to meet the official definition of severe acute respiratory syndrome. She was released from the hospital as a case of "special interest" and asked to remain at home for three days as a precaution.

Beilenson talked to the woman yesterday and learned that she had previously recorded a fever of 101.8. Because that qualified her as a "suspect" case, an isolation order was issued for her to stay home for eight more days.

"She has been extremely compliant," Beilenson said.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta call for suspected SARS patients to remain in isolation until 10 days after their symptoms clear up.

The woman's husband, who until yesterday had been on a three-day "symptom watch," has not become sick, Beilenson said.

None of the relatives the woman visited in Toronto - where 21 people have died of SARS - were sick at the time or have become ill since then, Beilenson said. He said the woman drove to and from Toronto alone but visited a large shopping mall while she was there.

It is unclear whether the woman has been at work since returning to Baltimore.

Maryland's other two suspected cases of SARS remained in isolation at their homes yesterday. They are a 40-year-old Baltimore doctor who developed symptoms during a trip to Toronto, and a 45-year-old Millersville woman who became sick after a trip to China, where the SARS outbreak is thought to have originated.

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