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Volume 9, Number 12—December 2003
Dispatch

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Epidemic in Asia

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Guofa Zhou*Comments to Author  and Eugenia Lo*
Author affiliations: *State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

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Abstract

We analyzed the dynamics of cumulative severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Beijing using the Richards model. The predicted total SARS incidence was close to the actual number of cases; the predicted cessation date was close to the lower limit of the 95% confidence interval.

As of May 15, 2003, the cumulative number of reported probable cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was >7,600 worldwide (1). In the 28 countries reporting SARS cases, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), particularly the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Beijing Municipality, reported most of the cases. The Beijing municipal government took various measures to prevent the spread of SARS. As in Hong Kong (2,3), measures in Beijing included wearing masks and handwashing, mandatory home quarantine of persons who had contact with probable SARS patients, suspension of schools and universities for 2 weeks, restrictions on public gatherings, screening body temperatures of air travelers, discouragement of mass migration by air or train, designation of special hospitals for the treatment of SARS patients, and education on SARS transmission and personal protection. The number of new cases reported daily in Beijing were high (e.g., 39 new cases on May 14, 2003), and public and health authorities were concerned about how extensive the SARS epidemic might be and when the SARS epidemic might be brought under control if intervention measures were continued.

The Study (details in separate file)

Conclusions (details in separate file)

Dr. Guofa Zhou is a senior research scientist at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His research interest is the ecology and epidemiology of infectious diseases.

Dr. Guiyun Yan is an associate professor of biological sciences at SUNY Buffalo; his research focuses on the ecology and genetics of infectious diseases.

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Acknowledgment

We thank three anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticism.

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References

  1. World Health Organization. Cumulative number of reported probable cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from: 1 Nov 2002 to: 15 May 2003, 18:00 GMT+2 [Accessed May 15, 2003] Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/2003_05_15/en/
  2. Donnelly  CA, Ghani  AC, Leung  GM, Hedley  AJ, Fraser  C, Riley  S, Epidemiological determinants if spread of causal agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Hong Kong. Lancet. 2003;361:17616.DOIPubMed
  3. Seto  WH, Tsang  D, Yung  RWH, Ching  TY, Ng  TK, Ho  M, Effectiveness of precautions against droplets and contact in prevention of nosocomial transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Lancet. 2003;361:151920.DOIPubMed
  4. Richards  FJ. A flexible growth function for empirical use. J Exp Bot. 1959;10:290300.DOI
  5. Ministry of Health. People’s Republic of China. http://www.moh.gov.cn/zhgl/yqfb/index.htm
  6. Benitez  MA. Beijing doctor alleges SARS cases cover-up in China. Lancet. 2003;361:1357.DOIPubMed
  7. World Health Organization. WHO recommendations on SARS and blood safety. May 15, 2003 [Accessed July 17, 2003] Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/csr/sars/guidelines/bloodsafety/en/
  8. Zar  JH. Biostatistical analysis. 4th edition. Englewood Cliffs (NJ): Prentice Inc.; 1999. p. 324–59.
  9. Lipsitch  M, Cohen  T, Cooper  B, Robins  JM, Ma  S, James  L, Transmission dynamics and control of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Science. 2003;300:196670.DOIPubMed
  10. Riley  S, Fraser  C, Donnelly  CA, Ghani  AC, Abu-Raddad  LJ, Hedley  AJ, Transmission dynamics of the etiological agent of SARS in Hong Kong: impact of public health interventions. Science. 2003;300:19616.DOIPubMed
  11. Razum  O, Becher  H, Kapaun  A, Junghanss  T. SARS, lay epidemiology, and fear. Lancet. 2003;361:173940.DOIPubMed
  12. World Health Organization. Update 70–Singapore removed from list of areas with local SARS transmission. [Accessed July 17, 2003] Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/entity/csr/don/2003_5_30a/en/
  13. World Health Organization. Update 86 – Hong Kong removed from list of areas with local transmission. [Accessed July 17, 2003] Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2003_6_23/en/
  14. World Health Organization. Update 87 – World Health Organization changes last remaining travel recommendation – for Beijing, China. [Accessed July 17, 2003] Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2003_6_24/en/
  15. World Health Organization. Cumulative number of reported probable cases of SARS. [Accessed July 17, 2003] Available from: URL: http://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/2003_07_09/en/

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid0912.030382

Table of Contents – Volume 9, Number 12—December 2003

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Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Guofa Zhou, Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA; fax: 716-645-2975

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Page created: March 16, 2011
Page updated: March 16, 2011
Page reviewed: March 16, 2011
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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