Do you know SARS symptoms to watch for?

Here is the case definition of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Respiratory illness of unknown etiology with onset since Feb. 1, 2003, and the following criteria:

• Measured temperature > 100.5°F (>38°C);

AND

• One or more clinical findings of respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia, or radiographic findings of either pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome);

AND

• Travel within 10 days of onset of symptoms to an area with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS (see list below; excludes areas with secondary cases limited to health care workers or direct household contacts);

OR

• Close contact within 10 days of onset of symptoms with either a person with a respiratory illness who traveled to a SARS area or a person known to be a suspect SARS case. (Close contact is defined as having cared for, having lived with, or having direct contact with respiratory secretions and/or body fluids of a patient known to be suspect SARS case.)

Areas with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS are:

  • People’s Republic of China;
  • Hanoi;
  • Vietnam;
  • Singapore.