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Where is the freaking out about SARS thread?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Is it only Canadians who are freaking out about this extremely contagious cold-like virus that is hopping continents, closing hospitals, quarantining thousands and killing health-care workers?

A friend is up from Boston this weekend and he says that SARS is not a hot topic in the States.

I was hoping to find some immunity-boosting tips here on MDC. I was hoping to hear some debate as to whether or not SARS is a serious threat or media hype (for the record, I think it's serious). Anyone?
post #2 of 33
In my opinion the reason we are not freaking out about the illness in the states is because we are freaking out about Iraq.

Whether we are for Bush or against him, or have mixed feelings like me, if we turn on the TV news all we see for hours and hours every day is Iraq news.
I have cut down on my TV viewing a lot because the stress from the fight-or-flight adreneline reaction makes me ill, gives me nightmares, insomnia etc. I can take care of my kids better if I am calmer and watching less TV.

It is absolutely obscene the way the American media have turned the war in Iraq into another entertainment product to sell.
post #3 of 33
Dodo, my bf is in Canada and he is freaked lots about SARS because he has some health issues that this thing can seriously compromise, but I agree that the reason the states are not paying as much attention to this is because of the damn in your face way too much had enough of all the gore and details war. i think any immune boosting you do for yourself and your kids can olny help all of you. Take a lot of vitamins and rest and do now worry too much.. I have faith they will find out whats causing this and fix it....hopefully before I come there in May lol.....
post #4 of 33
A thread like that would be in "health and Healing" forum.
Go check there and see what you find!
I'm moving this there too!
post #5 of 33
I started a thread a while ago, but I think it kind of died down...

I'm just making sure we eat well, take our vitamins and wash hands
post #6 of 33
Yeah, I'm freaked.

Now what?...

post #7 of 33
I'm somewhat freaked. I felt a little better after reading an article in the Washington Post that said that the death rate from this disease is about 4%, the same as West Nile Virus. There were 3 possible cases in my state, one in my city--a University of Virginia student who travelled to Hong Kong. She has recovered.

What worries me the most is that my dh is a nurse at a major university hospital so I think he's at a greater risk of getting sick.

I'm trying to think of it this way: even in Hong Kong, it's a minority of the population who have gotten sick. I don't know the population of Hong Kong, but it's a huge city, right? So, out of a population of, maybe 5,000,000, a few hundred people have gotten sick.

Also, we only know of reported cases. Maybe some people are getting a milder version and only have bad cold symptoms and don't see their doctor at all or are misdiagnosed with flu. I'm just guessing about that, though.

Anyway, I'm trying to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible so we can fight any disease we encounter.
post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
I figured that this thread might be moved from TAO, but I'm not convinced that it's entirely a health issue. I'm more interested in the American media disinterest in anything non-war, even a potential world health disaster. It's a mix between health and healing, TAO, media and activism, really. (plus, I gotta say it, sometimes I feel as though Health and Healing posts have too low of a profile).

I don't feel personally at high risk of contracting SARS, but I am afraid all the same. It's scary to think about an air-borne virus in the global village. It's scary to think that we all have such immediate contact with different parts of the world, where we have no say in public health policy (between dh and me, we have been in contact with three or four people recently returned from China, a couple from the epicentre of the Toronto scare, etc.).

Anyone else angered by the media response to outbreaks? I read one article by a well-respected Canadian journalist (Jan Wong) who made reservations to stay in the infamous hotel in China where the Toronto family with two deaths was first exposed to the virus. She thought that this was good investigative journalism until one of the infectious disease experts she was interviewing asked her if she wanted to be the next Typhoid Mary.

What do you guys think about the possibility that this disease originates with cattle? What with mad cow and everything, I'm really starting to question my commitment to meat-eating.

Sorry for the lack of focus. This health scare raises a lot of questions about modern living.
post #9 of 33
Why do you suspect cattle, Dodo? Is the Guaduong (sorry if misspelled) province of China a cattle farming area or do the people there eat a lot of beef?

This disease, and the West Nile Virus both make me a bit nervous about how air travel can quickly spread disease.

As far as the media response is concerned, while I haven't exactly had trouble finding info, most articles I've read were buried in the health section of the Washington Post on-line and not headline news.
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
The Globe and Mail had some articles in the Saturday paper suggesting a possible cattle connection.
post #11 of 33
It seems like the whole city of Toronto is being shut down because of SARS. My family and friends are all boycotting/avoiding large functions, going to restaurants and public places. Sounds a little bit like overkill, but I for one won't be visiting the community centre playgrounds this week.

The difference between SARS and West Nile is that SARS seems to be much more contagious, though it only kills a small percentage of those exposed. All the patients leaving one hospital I know of are being quarantined for ten days. Is everyone overreacting? Hard to know... we'll all know better in a few weeks when it's clear how contagious the virus (?) really is.
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
That must feel strange, Jjquilter! Nobody is avoiding anything here in Montreal, but, like I said earlier, every playgroup seems to have a family member just back from China. Did you read about the immigrant Kurdish woman who delivered her baby in the Scarborough Grace just minutes before they shut the place down? Understandably, she's very upset.
post #13 of 33
I just started a thread on this in Finding your tribe - Canada. I am in downtown Toronto and I'm freaking out.

post #14 of 33

I concur about the American media. Got an email from my best friend back home in Ontario this morning telling me that the Sunday NYT SARS piece didn't even mention Toronto. I find this troubling for a number of reasons... chiefly because one would think that the sensationalist US media would be concerned about just how close hospital closing, quarantine causing, panic inducing outbreak was to US soil. My secondary (and admittedly petty) concern is that under the Bush regime it seems like there's no acknowlegement that Canada even exists. At least Mexico was threatened before Gulf II started... Canada had to wait to receive its diplomatic threats for nonsupport until later. You'd think there could be an "oh by the way, the largest city of our largest trading partner has been hit by SARS panic/epidemic/whatever." Not that I'm bitter.
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
NoHiddenFees, no matter how you look at it, it seems like a difficult time to be a Canadian living in the States right now!

And I would expect the US to pay attention to the SARS outbreak up here, if only for purely selfish reasons.
post #16 of 33
It may be in Philadelphia now, I heard on the Pittsburgh news at noon. I think people are starting to freak out a bit. I think they said 60 people had died from it in the far east out of 1600 reported cases. That's like 3.75%, so I guess its a serious illness, but it isn't like Ebola or something.
post #17 of 33
how much people traffic occurs between Canada and the US every day?? I would have thought the US media would be full of warnings even with the war coverage

the first cases are showing up here - there is a lot of travel to and from China and other hotspots - one guy from Sydney apparently had it in Feb and recovered after 2 weeks in hospital

we have heard from an infectious diseases expert that if someone sneezes in an elevator and a droplet reaches a button that you then touch you will get it!!! sorry no link
post #18 of 33
I'm sorry if I sounded flippant or unconcerned in my first post. You guys are right: the US media is ignoring what's happening in Canada.

I'm from Buffalo, NY originally, which is less than a 2 hour drive from Toronto. There's a lot of travel back and forth from Buffalo to Toronto, especially because many people in Buffalo who take international trips fly out of Toronto. So anyway, I decided to check The Buffalo News to see if they are covering this. Their website has a section devoted to Ontario, but there was not a single mention of SARS on the day I checked, even though this was the day a fourth person died in Toronto and a 21 month-old baby was put in isolation because of the disease. I had to go the the Toronto Sun's website to find information about what is happening there.

I'm also worried about what I read in The Washington Post about how some people seem able to spread the disease to more people than others. It seems like the Toronto cases can all be traced to one woman and her son.

And, I was incredibly freaked out by the fact (read in the Washington Post) that the man who brought the disease to Hong Kong stayed in room 911, at the hotel that is now being called the epicenter of the outbreak in Hong Kong.
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Daylily, I didn't think that you sounded flippant or unconcerned. Quite the contrary.

My cousin lives in Buffalo and she drives home every weekend to visit her dad in a TO hospital.

I hadn't heard the 911 thing. Are you sure it isn't an urban legend in the making?
post #20 of 33
Thanks, Dodo.

The room 911 thing, I read in the Washington post:

Unbeknownst to health authorities at the time, Cheng, 48, had traveled in Guangdong and is believed to have stayed at the Metropole Hotel in Hong Kong during the same time as a 64-year-old Chinese professor who had been treating patients in Guangdong. The professor, in Hong Kong for a wedding, had checked into Room 911.

Here's a link to the entire article:
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