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April 24, 2003
For immediate release

Advice to Travellers Regarding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Health and Social Services

Chief Health Officer, Dr. Lamont Sweet, today announced that the Prince Edward Island Department of Health and Social Services does not support the travel advisory recently issued by the World Health Organization, which recommends postponing all non-essential travel to Toronto, Ontario.

Health Canada has not imposed restrictions on travel to or from Toronto, and the Chief Health Officer said the province is following the Health Canada guidelines.

"Health Canada recommends deferring all non-essential travel to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hanoi and Singapore because of SARS. We advise Prince Edward Island residents to follow this advisory, but are not including Toronto in that warning," said Dr. Sweet.

People who, in the past 10 days, have been in one of the areas listed above or have been in contact with a known case of SARS in the greater Toronto area should be aware that SARS starts with flu-like symptoms followed by a temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. People with this history and symptoms should call their local health service provider before seeking medical advice and care.

"The public should continue, both at home and while travelling, to follow careful hygienic practices, which reduce the spread of all respiratory diseases, including SARS," said Dr. Sweet. "These four simple steps can help prevent the spread any disease: covering the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, avoiding close contact with those who may be ill with respiratory illness, not sharing eating or drinking utensils, and following careful hand washing procedures."

Islanders with questions or concerns can contact their Regional Public Health Nursing office, the Prince Edward Island SARS toll-free inquiry line at 1-877-368-4532 or the Health Canada toll free line at 1-800-454-8302.

Media Contact: Connie McNeill
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