business news in context, analysis with attitude

While headlines about the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) continue to dominate the media, there is guarded concern but no panic about the fact that visitors from all over the world will be convening in Chicago this weekend to attend the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) annual show.

Susan Mirvis, a spokesperson for FMI, told MNB that the trade association will be taking its cues from local and national health officials, being vigilant about whether there is any new guidance or restrictions.

According to the Chicago Department of Health, there have been no cases of SARS detected in the city to this point.

The McCormick Place website advises that "all McCormick Place Security, Fire Safety, EMT and Paramedic personnel have received guidelines from our Medical Advisor on how to recognize possible symptoms of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In addition, our staff has received precautionary training in the event customers come to our attention complaining of these symptoms. Furthermore, we will continue to remain in contact with the Chief of E.M.S. for the Illinois Department of Health who has been providing us with updates as more information becomes available."

According to MSNBC, the primary way to contract SARS "appears to be close person-to-person contact. Most cases have involved people who cared for, lived with, or had close contact with a SARS victim. Touching the skin of a SARS victim, or even the droplets from a cough or sneeze, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can transmit the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it’s also possible that SARS can be spread more broadly through the air or by other ways that are currently not known. In Toronto, Canada, where 15 people have died, hospital staff in SARS wards are now wearing double gloves and full face shields as concerns grow that the protective gear used previously did not guard them sufficiently."
KC's View:
It'll be interesting to see if and how the SARS crisis infects attendee attitudes at FMI.