March 25, 2003

Second York Region resident diagnosed with SARS

NEWMARKET - York Region Health Services confirms that a second York Region resident has fallen ill with atypical pneumonia, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The new patient is a health care worker at the Scarborough Hospital, Grace Division, who had early contact with unrecognized SARS patients before protective respiratory precautions were being applied. The patient is currently in isolation and is in serious condition.

The other York Region resident with SARS remains in isolation and in serious condition after being diagnosed with SARS on March 15th.

York Region Health Services Department is participating with health units across the GTA in investigating any who may have been in contact with known SARS cases.

The disease is spread by very close personal contact to the respiratory secretions of an infected person.

"SARS is a very serious illness. We continue to urge residents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this illness and to take the necessary precautions," said Dr. Hanif Kassam, Acting Commissioner of York Region Health Services and Medical Officer of Health. "Please be aware that the risk to the general public of contracting SARS is low. Work is being done around the clock by all levels of the health care sector to protect the health of the public."

SARS is contracted from close contact, which involves having cared for, lived with or had face-to-face contact with respiratory secretions of a person with SARS.

Those at risk include people with recent travel to China's Guandong Province, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, and those who have had close contact with persons diagnosed with SARS. These people should seek medical attention, if they develop a fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) or one of more of the following respiratory symptoms:

There are currently 16 probable cases of SARS in Ontario.

York Region Health Services is part of the co-ordinated response to this illness with Health Canada, the Province of Ontario, hospitals and other health units.

York Region residents who are showing signs of the SARS illness AND have recently travelled to the countries listed or have had close contact with a suspected SARS case, are asked to seek medical attention. Contact:

For after hours service, general queries about SARS or service in languages other than English, please contact:

For additional information on SARS, including information in Cantonese and Mandarin, and links to several important Web sites, including Health Canada, please visit the Regional Municipality of York Web site at and click on the flashing Breaking News icon.


Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist
York Region Corporate Communications Services

Direct Line: 905-830-4444 Ext. 1235
After hours: 905 252-7789

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