Memo from the Provost: SARS


TO: Faculty, Staff, and Students

FROM: Sally Mason, Provost

RE: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

DATE: April 2, 2003

The SARS outbreak that has been reported in the media continues to be of concern here and around the world. The spread of this disease, while slowing in some countries, continues to be a problem, particularly in mainland China. While the Purdue University administration has not prohibited official travel to affected areas, we strongly advise University faculty, staff, and students to avoid trips to mainland China and other locations noted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. State Department as areas of high risk for this potentially deadly disease.

If you have planned or are considering travel to any of these areas, I urge you to first read information from the following Web sites regarding the disease, the risks associated with contracting this disease, and the parts of the world that are currently experiencing significant numbers of cases of SARS. (link no longer valid)

In addition to these sources of information, we urge you to consider the following should you decide to travel to areas where you may be at risk for contracting SARS.

  • If you develop SARS-related symptoms while abroad, you may be placed in quarantine in a location there determined by the host country and without access to family members or personal physicians.
  • If you develop SARS-related symptoms while abroad you may also be denied any opportunity for medical evacuation to the United States.
  • If you attempt to re-enter the United States or many other countries and are exhibiting SARS-related symptoms, you will likely be placed in quarantine before being allowed to return home.
  • Travel from these locations could be suspended at any time by government or airline actions.

If, despite the warnings, you find it essential to travel to these locations, please know that upon your return we require that you meet with on-campus health officials at the Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH) for an assessment of your health status. PUSH should be called immediately upon your return for an appointment (765) 494-6504.

We are watching this situation carefully and hope that all of our precautions are temporary ones. We will monitor actions by the CDC, WHO, and the State Department so that when travel warnings are lifted, we too can remove our restrictions. This letter and informational updates can be found on the PUSH Web site at

Please also remember that faculty and staff must submit required travel authorization forms prior to travel when using state or sponsored program money to support the travel. All students planning international travel for any Purdue University-related purpose, at any time, should seek prior approval of the Office of the Programs for Study Abroad. Policies, procedures and up-to-date information related to educational travel activities by students are listed on the Study Abroad Web site at

I sincerely hope that the spread of this disease is well on the way to being contained and that our international travel activities can resume without restriction very soon.