Press Release

Joint statement by the Department of Health and Children, National Disease Surveillance Centre and Western Health Board

In response to advice from the World Health Organisation, Ireland, in common with most countries, has been investigating illness in people who have travelled in areas affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The Western Health Board’s Department of Public Health is investigating a probable case of SARS in a person who has recently returned on a flight from South East Asia and who has shown symptoms similar to those of the disease.

The WHB will continue to closely monitor the situation in co-operation with health professionals and the NDSC.

The expert group established by Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children continues to monitor the situation and will advise him of any further measures which may need to be taken as the situation develops.

The NDSC and the Department have developed and disseminated guidance to hospitals and professionals in the health services describing this syndrome and offering advice as to how suspected cases should be dealt with.

The symptoms of SARS are a temperature of over 38°C, flu-like symptoms and a cough. This is relevant only to people who have been in the affected areas. The advice to the general public remains as before: people travelling to affected areas in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Guandong Province in China should be aware of the symptoms and seek medical advice should they become unwell during their trip or within 10 days of leaving the area.

The NDSC, in collaboration with Departments of Public Health throughout the country, continues to conduct surveillance of SARS in Ireland.