Since an epidemic alert was released in France on 13 March
(1), 216 people with symptoms of respiratory infection returning from Vietnam,
China, Hong Kong, or Singapore were notified to the national Public Health
Institute (Institut de veille sanitaire, InVS) (2). Of these, 201 were excluded
after clinical, radiological, biological, and epidemiological evaluation of
their compatibility with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
As of 3 April, 12 patients are still under surveillance. Three probable
cases of SARS have been identified and are currently hospitalised in isolation.
The first case was a traveller who returned from Hanoi (Vietnam) on 23 March.
The date of onset of symptoms of the latter two cases was 26 March and 30
March respectively. Their link with other SARS cases is under investigation.
In France, the health authorities and the ministry of foreign affairs have
advised against travel to Hong Kong and China (Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanxi
provinces) and recommended postponing travel to other affected areas (3).
Travellers returning from Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangdong,and Shanxi provinces
in China, Taiwan, Hanoi, Toronto, and Singapore are asked to fill in an
identification form upon arrival at the international Charles-de-Gaulle
airport in France. A similar surveillance procedure was implemented for
charter flights landing in other airports in France. People returning from
south east Asia who develop respiratory symptoms with a fever above 38°C
within ten days of landing are advised to contact the emergency on call
service, and not to directly consult hospital emergency wards or their physician.