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Volume 10, Number 8—August 2004

Print Media Response to SARS in New Zealand

Nick Wilson*Comments to Author , George Thomson*, and Osman Mansoor†
Author affiliations: *Otago University, Wellington, New Zealand; and; †Public Health Consulting Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand

Main Article

Table 1

Information on the clinical features of SARS in the New Zealand Heralda

Clinical feature No. (%) of articles (N = 261)
Symptoms detailed on the Ministry of Health’s SARS Web site
Cough or fever 67 (26)
Cough 55 (21)
Feverb 54 (21)
“Shortness of breath” 15 (6)
“Trouble breathing” or “difficulty breathing” 5 (2)
“Body aches” or “muscle pain” (myalgiab) 3 (1)
“Diarrhoea”b or “discomfort”
2 (1)
Additional symptoms of SARS from the literature (35)
Chillsb 12 (5)
Headache 5 (2)
3 (1)
Other words relating to clinical features
“Pneumonia” or “flu” 103 (39)
Pneumonia 67 (26)
Flu 53 (20)
Flu-like 38 (15)
Influenza 17 (7)
“High fever” 34 (13)
Temperature 23 (9)
Temperature of 38°C 9 (3)
“High temperature” 6 (2)
“Respiratory symptoms” 3 (1)

aSARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome. Quotation marks refer to actual phrases in newspaper articles.
bThese were the symptoms considered to predict SARS most strongly in the early stages of illness, according to Rainer et al. (4).
cOther symptoms included loss of appetite, malaise, rigor, vomiting, sore throat, dizziness, sputum, night sweat, coryza, abdominal pain, neck pain, nausea, arthralgia (“joint pain”), chest pain, rhinorrhoea (“runny nose”).

Main Article

  1. Pearson  H, Clarke  T, Abbott  A, Knight  J, Cyranoski  D. SARS: What have we learned? Nature. 2003;424:1216. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Herald article search (advanced). [accessed 14 Dec 2003]. Available from:
  3. Donnelly  CA, Ghani  AC, Leung  GM, Hedley  AJ, Fraser  C, Riley  S, Epidemiological determinants of spread of causal agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Hong Kong. Lancet. 2003;361:17616. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Rainer  TH, Cameron  PA, Smit  D, Ong  KL, Hung  AN, Nin  DC, Evaluation of WHO criteria for identifying patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome out of hospital: prospective observational study. BMJ. 2003;326:13548. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Booth  CM, Matukas  LM, Tomlinson  GA, Rachlis  AR, Rose  DB, Dwosh  HA, Clinical features and short-term outcomes of 144 patients with SARS in the Greater Toronto area. JAMA. 2003;289:28019. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. New Zealand Ministry of Health. SARS information archive. [Accessed 3 July 2003]. Available from:
  7. Pirisi  A. Getting ready for SARS. Lancet. 2003;362:16323. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Lau  JTF, Yang  X, Tsui  H, Kim  JH. Monitoring community responses to the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong: from day 10 to day 62. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57:86470. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Ministry of Health. Influenza pandemic action plan. Wellington: Ministry of Health, 2002. [Accessed 19 June 2003]. Available from:$FILE/InfluenzaPandemicActionPlan.pdf
  10. Wilson  N, Lush  D. Bioterrorism in the Northern Hemisphere and potential impact on New Zealand. N Z Med J. 2002;115:24751.PubMedGoogle Scholar

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Page updated: June 14, 2011
Page reviewed: June 14, 2011
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