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Thursday, April 24, 2003

Norwalk Hospital Officials Offer Differing Reports About Suspected SARs Cases

Almost two weeks after WestportNow first reported that the states first suspected SARS case involved a Westport resident, the head of the infectious disease department at Norwalk Hospital said the hospitalҒs emergency room treated two such patients.

But a colleague at the hospital later offered a conflicting report. (See below.)

Other than reporting the hospitals involvement with the patients, Dr. Ernest Atlas gave few details about the cases in an interview aired on CablevisionҒs News-12. He said both patients had a dry cough, an elevated fever, a headache, and were “aching all over.”

The states Department of Health has reported six cases in the state related to the severe acute respiratory illness Җ five listed as suspected and one as probable. It said two were in separate towns in Fairfield County but did not identify the communities.

The department said none has any relationship to the others and all are recovering and doing well.

On March 28, WestportNow reported that area medical officials had received word that a southwest Connecticut resident was a suspected SARS case and were asked to be especially vigilant about other suspected cases.

The patient had recently traveled to an Asian country where the illness had been reported.

On April 12, WestportNow reported it had subsequently confirmed that at least one of the suspected Fairfield County patients was a Westport resident who travels abroad frequently for business and has fully recovered.

Health officials have stressed that local residents should not be alarmed since the cases are suspected and not confirmed.

Update
: The head of Norwalk Hospitals emergency department, Dr. Michael Carius, speaking in a News-12 interview Friday (April 25), offered an account that conflicted with what his colleague, Dr. Atlas, said Thursday, according to the station.

It reported that Dr. Carius told them he did not have the information that Dr. Atlas had, and that as far as he knew, there had not been any suspected cases of SARS treated at Norwalk Hospital.

Additionally, News-12 reported that he said the hospital had made no notification about any suspected cases to the state Department of Health. The implication seemed to be that the two Fairfield County cases cited by the state were not the ones referred to by Dr. Atlas.

There was no explanation for the discrepancy in what the two hospital officials reported. But medical sources said it likely was due to the changing definitions, acknowledged by experts, of how to classify suspected SARS cases.

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Posted 04/24/03 at 08:33 PM  Permalink



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