Cablegate: Wgsars: Canada-Wide Status Report April 10
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 001043
STATE FOR WGSARS, OES/PCI, WHA/CAN (RUNNING)
HHS FOR OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, OFFICE OF
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (STEIGER)
CDC for Global Health Office (Cox) and Epidemiology
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED CA SARS
SUBJECT: WGSARS: Canada-wide Status Report April 10
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
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
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
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