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Volume 10, Number 2—February 2004

Commentary

Wresting SARS from Uncertainty

Jairam R. Lingappa*, L. Clifford McDonald*, Patricia Simone*, and Umesh Parashar*Comments to Author 
Author affiliations: *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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World Health Organization SARS case definitionsa

Suspected case-patient: a person presenting after November 1, 2002,b with a history of (ALL THREE):
1. High fever (>38°C) AND
2. Cough or breathing difficulty, AND
3. One or more of the following exposures during the 10 days before onset of symptoms:
close contactc with a person who is a suspected or probable SARS case-patient;
history of travel to an area with recent local transmission of SARS
residing in an area with recent local transmission of SARS
Probable case-patient: a suspected case-patient with:
1. Radiographic evidence of infiltrates consistent with pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) on chest x-ray OR
2. Consistent respiratory illness that is positive for SARS coronavirus by one or more assays, OR
3. Autopsy findings consistent with the pathology of RDS without an identifiable cause

aRevised May 1, 2003) (6). SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome.
bThe surveillance period begins on November 1, 2002, to capture cases of atypical pneumonia in China now recognized as SARS. International transmission of SARS was first reported in March 2003 for cases with onset in February 2003.
cA close contact is someone who cared for, lived with, or had direct contact with respiratory secretions or body fluids of a suspected or probable SARS case-patient.

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