For the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an EMS specific guideline for infection control practice. The guideline relates to dealing with suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) patients. SARS is a respiratory illness that has recently been reported in Asia, North America, and Europe. The illness usually begins with a fever (>100.4 º F) and appears to be spread through droplet transmission; namely, when someone sick with SARS coughs or sneezes droplets into the air and someone else breathes them in. Cases of SARS continue to be reported primarily among people who have had direct close contact with an infected person and health care workers who did not use infection control procedures while caring for a SARS patient. There are specific steps EMS providers should take with all potentially infectious patients, especially with the appearance of SARS, even though in the United States, there is no indication of community transmission at this time. Specifics and up to the minute information is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) SARS website at: Based on the CDC information, and in conjunction with other EMS groups, the NYS Dept. of Health Bureau of EMS issued an Important Advisory and Update (click here for the DOH Advisory) regarding SARS on April 18, 2003. All EMS providers should read this update. Saratoga County EMS and Public Health officials believe it is imperative that all EMS provider agencies implement two measures: (1) maintain a heightened alert for patients with fever and/or other signs of infectious disease (such as rash), immediately taking appropriate infection control precautions when encountering such patients. (2) equip all vehicles that respond to EMS calls with gloves, eye protection, isolation gowns (or suits), N-95 (or higher) respirator masks, and a means to immediately sanitize EMS provider’s hands in the field (such as a waterless hand sanitizer gel or wipes). A DOH recommendation on 911 caller screening for SARS has been carefully considered by Saratoga County EMS and Public Health officials in close consultation with colleagues in other Counties throughout New York as well as major 911 centers elsewhere in the US. At this time, Saratoga County has decided not to implement 911 caller screening for SARS.