A Brown University faculty member and a 2-year-old Minnesota boy are being monitored as possible SARS (search) cases -- both recent visitors to Toronto.

 

Toronto (search) is the epicenter of the biggest outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome outside of Asia, where the disease originated. More than 250 probable or suspected cases have been reported in the Toronto area, with 19 deaths so far.

The unnamed Brown faculty member in the division of biology and medicine has been asked to stay away from campus. Students who have been in contact with the professor have been informed, according to a statement posted on the school's Web site Friday.

In Minnesota, a 2-year-old boy and a 14-month-old infant were classified Friday as two probable SARS cases. Minnesota Health Department officials said the boy recently visited the Toronto area and the infant had recently traveled to China (search).

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, a man who displayed SARS symptoms after traveling in Asia is facing a misdemeanor charge of refusing to cooperate with public health officials investigating the disease.

Although Bamidele Ali's symptoms have subsided and it is unlikely he has the disease, officials need to conduct further tests and obtain details of his recent travels to Asia, said Peter Schuler, Waukesha County health director.

Ali, 26, was charged Friday with failing to cooperate with health officials investigating a communicable disease, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Prosecutor Paul Bucher said Ali was charged after refusing an order from the county Department of Health and Human Services to submit to a blood test and provide other information. He was served with the order on April 4.

There was no listing under Ali's name when The Associated Press attempted to telephone him early Saturday for comment.

Doctors at the hospital obtained a blood sample from Ali during his initial visit. But without another sample, it might be impossible to determine whether Ali was exposed to SARS, Schuler said.

County officials urged Ali to stay home until his symptoms improved, to consult his own physician and to wear a mask in public, but those requests were disregarded, and Ali later ignored calls from his physician, the complaint said.