International SOS, the world's largest medical and security assistance company, will be pre-screening all attendees from SARS-affected nations prior to their travel to the meeting. AACR, with SOS, has created a protocol, based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that will identify individuals from affected areas who may have been exposed to SARS patients or who themselves are experiencing symptoms characteristic of the respiratory illness.
The protocol will take the form of a questionnaire that will assess the health of these individuals to determine if they are asymptomatic and able to attend the meeting. Attendees will be able to speak to SOS medical staff in their local language if required.
"We at the AACR place a premium on the safety of those attending our meetings, including those registrants who care for immune-compromised patients with cancer," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., AACR chief executive officer. "This protocol, developed by AACR with International SOS - a leader in the field of global medical services -- will give us added protection at our Annual Meeting."
In early April, the AACR was forced to cancel its Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, as a result of the SARS outbreak in that city. The meeting, with an expected attendance of 16,000 people, was subsequently rescheduled for July 11-14, 2003, in the new, state-of-the-art Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
SOS will be providing a toll-free number for attendees to obtain medical advice about SARS. Their website, www.internationalsos.com, also contains the latest information about the
Contact: Warren Froelich
American Association for Cancer Research