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Reuters: Alert Virginia ED nurse spots, handles first US SARS case

May 8, 2003 -- Today Reuters ran a piece by Maggie Fox describing how Virginia ED nurse Karin Kirby and her team spotted the first US SARS case in February and quickly took appropriate steps to protect others. Kirby, an ED team leader at Loudoun Hospital Center in Leesburg, had testified before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on May 7. She told the committee that the Chinese patient, who presented with a fever, a cough and breathing trouble, and who had pneumonia, might normally have been placed in a ward with other patients. But according to the article, Kirby had read about the early stages of the then-obscure disease in China. Based on this and information Kirby obtained from the patient's nephew, isolation procedures were reinforced, and an ED physician and government personnel were alerted. Kirby noted that the case showed the value of preparation, but that "there will always be that moment of vulnerability before we can respond when an unknown virus or bacteria may infect a triage nurse."

Click here to see the Reuters article.