CDC: Stop the spread of SARS at the doorway

In the past outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), some visitors, patients, and employees were exposed to the virus before anyone was aware that another patient or visitor was infected. That shows the importance of early detection — and of prevention strategies that start at the doorway of the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta offers these suggestions:

  • Post visual alerts at facility entrances advising patients to report symptoms of a respiratory infection. The signs can instruct patients on how to prevent exposing others.
  • Designate waiting areas for patients who have symptoms of a respiratory infection that are segregated from those who do not have symptoms of illness.
  • Create physical barriers between patients and triage or reception personnel.
  • Promote respiratory etiquette. Instruct all patients, visitors and health care workers to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Make hand hygiene products and tissues available in waiting areas.
  • Offer a surgical mask to patients and visitors who have symptoms of a respiratory infection.