March 16, 2003

York Region resident diagnosed with SARS

NEWMARKET - York Region Health Services confirms that a York Region resident has fallen ill with atypical pneumonia, now known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. The 62-year-old City of Vaughan male is currently in isolation at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, and is listed in stable condition.

This case is unrelated to the SARS cluster in Toronto. The resident returned early Saturday, March 15th from travel to South Korea, Thailand, China and Hong Kong SAR.

The disease is spread by very close personal contact to the respiratory secretions and body fluids of an infected person. The immediate concern is to contact those who may have had close contact with the infected person to determine if they are showing symptoms of the disease.

Health Canada is contacting passengers who shared the returning flight from Hong Kong; York Region Health Services has listed and is reaching all those whom the resident came into contact with upon his return home. Residents should, however, be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention if they show signs of the illness and/or have travelled to any of the countries listed within the past two weeks.

The signs and symptoms of this potentially fatal illness are all of the following:

  • Sudden onset of high fever (over 38.5 degrees Celsius)
  • Myalgia (muscle ache)
  • One or more of the following symptoms:
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing


  • With chest X-ray findings of atypical pneumonia and with a history of travel to, or close contact with people who have travelled to Asia, particularly mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Viet Nam or Singapore, within two weeks of symptom onset.

This SARS case coincides with a cluster of cases currently under investigation in Toronto. Toronto Public Health, in co-ordination with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and local hospitals, is investigating four cases of SARS in one Toronto family plus one additional person who was in close contact with the family. Two individuals from the family have died from this severe form of pneumonia. The World Health Organization issued a global alert on similar illnesses and deaths occurring in Hong Kong, Viet Nam, and Guangdong province in China.

York Region Health Services is part of the co-ordinated response to this illness within the Greater Toronto Area. Until further notice, York Region residents who are showing signs of the SARS illness and/or have recently travelled to the countries listed are to contact the Toronto Public Health Hotline. Each call will be assessed, counselled, and if appropriate, referred for medical attention.

Members of the public can call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.


Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist

York Region Corporate Communications Services

905-830-4444 Ext. 1235 or after hours 905 252-7789








Members of the public can call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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