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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1346..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

practitioners to ensure the early identification of any case of the disease in the ACT. Contingency plans are being refined to ensure that the ACT is able to respond appropriately should there be a confirmed case of SARS in the territory.

The case definition for the disease defines a suspected case as any person with a respiratory illness of unknown origin with onset since 1 February 2003 and the following criteria: a temperature above 38 degrees; a respiratory illness-a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty of breathing; and travel within 10 days of onset of symptoms to an area with documented or suspected communicable transmission of SARS. Cases have been reported in a number of countries in Asia, Europe and North America. The countries most affected are Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Vietnam.

The Commonwealth chief medical officer announced on 1 April that Australia had officially notified the World Health Organisation of its first suspected case of SARS. The suspect case had been under investigation for some time in New South Wales and, while the man had fully recovered, he fitted the WHO criteria for SARS and no other cause for his illness had been identified.

The media has also reported an ACT case. A 26-year-old female was admitted to the Canberra Hospital on 30 March with atypical pneumonia. The patient has been classified as a patient under investigation, rather than a suspect or probable case of SARS. Nevertheless, contact tracing is proceeding to alert people who have had close contact with this person to the need to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Australian health authorities have investigated more than 30 suspected cases of SARS over the past three weeks, but none of the people have met the WHO criteria for the SARS case, including people from the ACT, except the New South Wales man. ACT Health participates in daily conferences with the communicable diseases network in Australia and is closely following WHO updates on a daily or twice-daily basis.

That is all the information I have, Mrs Cross, but if there is further information that you would like or other members would like, I am more than happy to provide any detail wished.

MRS CROSS: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister may have to take it on notice because it was meant for Mr Corbell, but I will put it to him anyway. Chief Minister, are you able to indicate whether the ACT health department was represented at the recent communicable disease control conference held in Canberra? Are you aware whether Mr Corbell was briefed on the influenza planning that has been undertaken in New South Wales and whether, as that state's nearest neighbour, the ACT will have any coordinating efforts with New South Wales?

MR STANHOPE: I do not know the answer to those questions, Mrs Cross, but I am more than happy to get those details for you.

ACT Housing-eviction of tenant

MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for housing, Mr Wood. Mr Wood is aware of this. I alerted him earlier to this matter. Minister, I was advised yesterday of a case in which a mother of two children, one a young teenager with a disability, will be evicted


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