News reports about attempts to quell the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Southeast Asia continue to raise the anxiety of Iowans, even though health officials here say there’s no danger. Officials at the national Centers for Disease Control are recommending that Americans postpone non-essential trips to China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Hanoi, Vietnam until further notice. The Iowa Department of Public Health spokesman Kevin Teale says those types of warnings have spooked Iowans. He says they’ve been getting “a fair amount” of calls from physicians, medical offices, county health departments and schools due to the media attention. He says though, the risk of Iowans getting this disease is very low. News reports today said officials in Hong Kong sealed off an apartment block where 92 new cases of the potentially fatal disease have been reported. Teale says it’s those reports that cause concern among Iowans. Teale says many of the questions are about people who’ve recently been to one of the countries where the disease has been discovered. Teale says it does take close person contact with a person that’s been infected for you to get the disease. He says Iowans who have traveled to the countries in question, but have none of the symptoms, should continue with their normal daily activities and do not need to be restricted from school or work.
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