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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

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Table 2

Information on SARS transmission and control measures reported in the New Zealand Heralda

Information on SARS No. (%) of articles (N = 261)
SARS transmission
Transmission by “droplets” or “sneezing” or “coughing” 16 (6)
“Close contact,” “direct contact,” or “physical contact” with an infected person as a risk factor for transmission 16 (6)
“Close contact” or “contacts” the definition used for outbreak control purposes 13 (5)
Possible transmission through a contaminated “surface” or “object” or lift “button” or door “handle” 13 (5)
“Person-to-person” transmission 7 (3)
Possible risk posed by bodily “secretions” (or “faecal” contamination, “faeces” or “stool”) 7 (3)
Possibility of “airborne” transmission 5 (2)
“Casual contact” not being a risk factor for transmission 2 (1)
No evidence for “airborne” transmission (or unlikely) 2 (1)
Touching ones “eyes”, or “nose”, or “mouth” with potentially contaminated hands as a risk factor
1 (0.4)
SARS control or personal protection
“Quarantine” 85 (33)
“Isolation” 62 (24)
“Mask” 60 (23)
“Hand washing” for prevention 4 (2)
Advice to seek medical attention if relevant symptoms are present 4 (2)
Lack of health insurance cover for travellers to affected areas
2 (1)
Groups at increased risk of infection and or death
Health workers (including nurses and doctors) 24 (9)
“Elderly” (and other terms for older persons) 7 (3)
Persons with diabetes or other chronic conditions. 3 (1)

aSARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome. Quotation marks refer to actual phrases used in newspaper articles.

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