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Q&A about the impact of SARS on UC Berkeley

SARS resource center for campus
FAQs, guidelines, links and more

The rapid global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has raised concerns about how the UC Berkeley campus is dealing with the threat; here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q. Have there been any suspected cases of SARS on the Berkeley campus or within the campus community?
A. No. Thus far there have been no cases of SARS or suspected SARS at UC Berkeley.

Q. How is the campus monitoring the situation?
A. The Chancellor established a SARS task force to coordinate the overall campus response to SARS. University Health Services is monitoring the situation daily, ensuring that appropriate training and protective measures are in place, and providing up-to-date information for the campus, including links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The campus is working closely with local and regional public health experts regarding SARS.

Q. What are the warning signs to look out for with SARS?
A. Risk factors for SARS include recent travel to affected areas of the world and/or close contact with a SARS patient, and development of symptoms related to the illness. As experts continue their investigation, more is being learned about SARS every day. For the most up-to-date specific information about SARS symptoms, areas of the world that are affected, and information about close contact, consult the CDC’s SARS Web site.

Q. I have seen people wearing masks. What does that mean?
A. There have been no suspected cases of SARS on campus, and masks are not a cause for alarm. Some people choose to wear masks to protect themselves from exposure to pollens, other allergens, colds, flu or SARS. Most hospital emergency rooms and clinics, including the Tang Center, ask patients with a cough to wear masks as a routine public health practice to prevent the spread of influenza, colds, tuberculosis and SARS.

Q. Are there any travel restrictions or advisories in place for faculty, staff and students traveling abroad, or for those planning to visit campus from abroad?
A. The campus task force recommends following the advice of the CDC regarding travel advisories and/or travel restrictions. Specific recommendations for those planning travel to or returning from affected areas are available. Travelers returning from affected areas or those who have been exposed to SARS are asked to monitor themselves closely for 10 days for signs and symptoms of infection.

Q. What is happening with Education Abroad Program students in the currently affected areas?
A. University of California EAP officials are closely monitoring the SARS situation. They have been in close contact with students already abroad, working with them to address individual concerns, and providing access to current information from the CDC. Students scheduled to leave for study abroad this summer or next fall will be notified in May if there is any change in program recommendations due to SARS, based upon the most current information available at that time.

Q. Where do I go if I have questions about SARS? Where do I go if I may have been exposed and think I have symptoms of SARS?
A. General information about SARS is available from the Tang Center and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you think you have SARS symptoms (and have either had close contact with a SARS patient or have recently traveled to affected areas), contact your health care provider for advice and recommendations for evaluation. If you are a patient at University Health Services (Tang Center) and need evaluation, contact the Advice Nurse (510/643-7197) or Urgent Care (510/642-3188). Those in the campus community with general questions about SARS should refer to the Web sites above, or call 510/642-1814 for information.

If you do not have a local health care provider, advice and services are available from the City of Berkeley Public Health Department Advice Line (510/981-5300), the Sutter Urgent Care Center (510/204-2750), or the Alta Bates Emergency Room (510/204-4444)

Q. If SARS does become a problem on campus or locally, how will faculty, staff, and students be alerted?
A. If there is a change in the situation on campus, look for news to be posted at the UC Berkeley NewsCenter as soon as information is available.