US embassy cable - 03OTTAWA1043

WGSARS: Canada-wide Status Report April 10 (Number 1)

Identifier: 03OTTAWA1043
Wikileaks: View 03OTTAWA1043 at
Origin: Embassy Ottawa
Created: 2003-04-10 21:08:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

CDC for Global Health Office (Cox) and Epidemiology 
Program Office 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: WGSARS: Canada-wide Status Report April 10 
(Number 1) 
Ref. (A) Toronto 01048 and previous 
1. As of April 9, 2003, Health Canada has received 
reports of 242 probable or suspect cases of severe 
acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Canada. There have 
been 10 deaths in Canada. All Canadian cases have 
occurred in persons who have traveled to Asia or had 
contact with SARS cases in the household or in a health- 
care setting.  Health Canada has compiled the following 
figures regarding the SARS outbreak in Canada, accurate 
as of 13:00 EDT, April 09: 
2. Number of Cases: 
Ontario is reporting 94 probable and 101 suspect 
cases. All cases have occurred in persons who have 
traveled to Asia or had contact with SARS cases in the 
household or in a health-care setting. 
British Columbia is reporting 3 probable and 31 
suspect cases. 
New Brunswick is reporting 2 suspect cases. 
Saskatchewan is reporting 1 suspect case. 
Alberta is reporting 6 suspect cases. 
Prince Edward Island is reporting 4 suspect cases. 
3. Health Canada provides the following definitions: A 
"suspect" case of SARS is a person who fits into one of 
the following two categories: a person who develops 
fever and one or more respiratory symptoms, including 
cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, 
within 10 days of returning from travel to areas in 
Asia where SARS cases are being reported, or a person 
who develops fever and one or more respiratory 
symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath or 
difficulty breathing, within 10 days of having had 
close contact with a "probable " case of SARS (i.e. 
within one meter). 
4. A "probable" case of SARS is similar to a suspect 
case, but often the case has a more severe illness, 
with progressive shortness of breath and difficulty 
breathing, and in some cases, chest x-rays shows signs 
of atypical pneumonia.  Health Canada emphasizes that 
the above descriptions of a probable and suspect case 
are provided for communication purposes and not for 
scientific purposes. 
5. Fatalities: 
      10, all clustered in Toronto, Ontario. 
6. Provincial Health Status Level: 
Reflecting the relative severity of the outbreak 
in Ontario, that province is the only one to have 
declared a provincial Health emergency, doing so on 
March 26th.  Also, on March 26, Ontario made SARS a 
reportable disease under the provincial health statute. 
British Columbia added SARS to the list of 
of reportable communicable diseases in B.C. on April 1st. 
While any unusual communicable disease like SARS is 
already considered reportable under the B.C. Health 
Act, SARS was specifically added by name to listing of 
disease under the communicable disease regulations for 
greater surety. 
In tiny Prince Edward Island (about the size of 
Delaware), SARS has also been made a reportable disease 
under the province's public health act. 
In all other provinces, the standard approach has 
been the provincial medical officers of health, in 
coordination with Health Canada, have issued advisories 
to physicians and healthcare workers outlining SARS 
symptoms and "at-risk" indicia, and defining the course 
of action to take. 
7. Federal Assistance & Health Asset Deployments: The 
focus of federal assistance is on Toronto, the 
epicenter of the Canadian SARS outbreak. 
A Health Canada SARS Team of physicians and nurses 
has been deployed to Pearson International Airport 
(Toronto) to provide information to airline and airport 
staff.  Health Canada has also sent quarantine officers 
to Vancouver and Dorval (Montreal) International 
Airports to support airport staff.  These health 
professionals are monitoring passengers arriving on 
direct flights from Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing; 
passing out Health Alert Notices to incoming 
passengers; and supporting airport staff.  Health 
Canada staff at Toronto's Pearson International 
airports also inform all departing travelers from that 
airport about the symptoms of SARS and advise those who 
have symptoms, or been in contact with a SARS affected 
person, or visited a SARS affected facility, to defer 
travel and seek medical attention. 
At the request of Ontario, Health Canada shipped 
10,000 masks to Toronto as a stopgap measure until the 
province receives additional masks from its supplier. 
These masks are part of Health Canada's national 
emergency stockpile (National Emergency Stockpile 
Health Canada has deployed a total of 14 personnel 
to Ontario to assist Toronto's public health unit and 
the Ontario Ministry of Health with the investigation 
of the SARS cases. Health Canada has also provided 
guidelines for infection control and recommendations on 
actions for public health settings. 
Health Canada has provided two mobile x-ray 
machines and processors to Toronto for two isolation 
units that have been set up in non-hospital facilities. 
8. Extensive public information on SARS situation in 
Canada is made available by Health Canada at the 
following URL: 

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