U.S. SARS Outbreak? Vallejo, California
By Carl F. Worden – Sierra Times.com
Vallejo, California – While the evidence is not conclusive, information pouring in gives all indications that some type of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak has manifested itself in the Kaiser Hospital of Vallejo, California.
The circumstances, patient presentations and deaths that have occurred at that Vallejo, California hospital are more compelling than all the evidence that has been publicly revealed to date against Scott Peterson in the Laci Peterson murder case.
Astraea Kelly, a 20 year veteran of respiratory therapy, presently working in the pulmonary unit of Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo, California. She has been infected with what she refers to as a “Bad Bug”. Her last day of work was May 5, 2003, and she has been recovering at her home in Benicia, California all this time from a pattern of illness that she reports killed twelve patients in her unit between May 2 and May 6, 2003.
Kelly believes that mortality rate is right off the scale, and she is concerned enough to blow the whistle, risk her job and perhaps even her license, to make Public Health officials take notice and start taking preventative measures to stem the spread of an illness that appears to be easily contagious, highly morbid and very deadly. It could indeed be SARS.
Kelly also reports that three fellow staffers working in her same unit, who are very healthy adults, were also infected and took two to four weeks to recover. Experts agree: That’s a bad bug. When is the last time flu knocked you down and out more than a week or ten days, max?
Be it Coronavirus SARS or some other infectious disease, people are still getting sick. If others have been exposed at this time, no immediate action has been taken. If we have an outbreak of presumably viral pulmonary infections called “Atypical Pneumonias” that are sickening and killing people at an alarming rate, one would think the officials that be would sound the alarm, alert the Center For Disease Control and begin an immediate and intense effort to isolate, identify this dangerous bug, and if necessary, quarantine those infected and exposed.
Well, that’s not happening at Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo, California so far, but apparently Astraea’s efforts at her computer keyboard are beginning to get some movement.
Kelly was using the Kaiser e-mail system to discuss this pattern with others she works with, and has been notified of a pending disciplinary action by Kaiser Hospital for using their e-mail system for “inappropriate purposes”. In effect, Kaiser cut off her ability to communicate with co-workers, coworkers who could provide even more substantiation and input regarding what she observed before becoming deathly ill herself.
Her symptoms began with 3 days of diarrhea, a temperature running between 100 to 101 degrees,
heaviness in the chest, wheezing, and she almost had to undergo oxygen therapy. She’s still recovering two weeks later. What troubled her was the fact that so many patients in her unit presented the exact same pattern of symptoms. According to Astraea, 20 patients died in a period of one month, including those 12 who died in that period of just 4 days, and all from the same pattern of illness.
“What is our responsibility as medical workers if we believe a pattern harmful to others is being shown in our patients?” Kelly asked. “Is it to ignore it? Or is it to help others understand and control infectious process so lives are not unduly risked?”
Kelly also said that current federal Center For Disease criteria do not call for eliminating SARS in SARS-like patients unless the patient has recently traveled abroad. Further, she states that CDC rules call for an autopsy to determine if SARS caused a fatality, and since a patient who died may not have traveled outside the United States, their bodies are simply being disposed of without an autopsy being performed.
She stated the illness first struck the elderly and infirm, then moved on down to the lower age groups – just like SARS. She also pointed out that this kind of a pneumonia outbreak is extremely unusual for this time of the year. Kelly has 20 years experience in her field.
So far, Astraea has not been given her “confidential” diagnosis. We will follow up with more information as it becomes available.
More to come.