Chestertown, MD, January 19, 2004 — This afternoon, a Washington College student was transported from the Chester River Hospital Center to the University of Maryland Hospital, where the student is being treated for influenza-like symptoms. There is no clear diagnosis at this time, but because of the student's travel and contacts over the holiday break, the Chester River Hospital Center included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as one of several possible causes. Tests are being conducted today, and doctors hope to have a conclusive diagnosis soon.
As a precautionary measure, members of the College's Health Services have identified and screened all of the student's close contacts on campus, and have advised the student's living companions to undertake a thorough disinfection of the shared living spaces.
Our medical staff believes that it is highly unlikely that this student has, in fact, contracted SARS, an infectious respiratory illness that shares early signs and symptoms with the common cold. Nevertheless, all students who come down with a respiratory ailment and who have a fever of 100.4 or greater should contact the College's Health Services or their primary care provider. If neither is available, students should seek medical attention at the Chester River Health Center emergency room.
To prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, students should cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and wash their hands frequently.
We will keep you apprised of any further developments as the information becomes available.