State health officials on alert for mystery illness

Wednesday, April 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- Oklahoma health officials say doctors and hospitals are being asked to watch closely for any sign of a mysterious respiratory illness.

Lauri Smithee of the state Health Department says acute-care hospitals and doctors who specialize in infectious diseases are being asked to watch for signs of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

SARS is blamed for at least 78 deaths worldwide, mostly in Asian countries. About 70 cases have been reported in the US, but no deaths.

Smithee says three suspected cases were reported recently in Oklahoma City, but none were SARS.