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Mon, Jul 14, 2003

Dyess AFB Quarantines 11 Because Of SARS Worries

So Far, Though, All Tests Negative

When you think of SARS outbreaks, you think about places like Hong Kong, Beijing and Toronto. Seldom do you expect the deadly flu-like disease to pop up here in the United States. Now, however, 11 people are under quarantine at Dyess AFB (TX), suspected of contracting the disease.

"At this time, no one has been diagnosed as having SARS," said Lt. Jennifer Donovan at the base in Abilene. She declined to say whether those in quarantine were military or civilian personnel. Some of the possible victims have reportedly shown signs of infection. Some had been attending a military function in Ontario before the Canadian province was removed from the World Health Organization's list of cities where the disease was known to have been contracted.

"There is no cause for alarm," Donovan said. "We would like to take extra precautions in order to ensure the safety of the people of Dyess and of the general population."

A Little Sensitive Up North?

Ontario Premier Ernie Eves said he thought it was pretty unlikely those quarantined at Dyess were infected with SARS.

"I am concerned that people act and do things before they have the facts," Eves said. "I certainly don't think anyone should jump to conclusions that it is in any way, shape or form SARS or that it in any, way, shape or form originated in a two-hour stay in (Toronto's) Pearson International Airport."

SARS has killed thousands of people around the world. None of them, however, has been in the United States.

FMI: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars

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