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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 1

Information on the clinical features of SARS in the New Zealand Heralda

Clinical feature No. (%) of articles (N = 261)
Symptoms detailed on the Ministry of Health’s SARS Web site
Cough or fever 67 (26)
Cough 55 (21)
Feverb 54 (21)
“Shortness of breath” 15 (6)
“Trouble breathing” or “difficulty breathing” 5 (2)
“Body aches” or “muscle pain” (myalgiab) 3 (1)
“Diarrhoea”b or “discomfort”
2 (1)
Additional symptoms of SARS from the literature (35)
Chillsb 12 (5)
Headache 5 (2)
3 (1)
Other words relating to clinical features
“Pneumonia” or “flu” 103 (39)
Pneumonia 67 (26)
Flu 53 (20)
Flu-like 38 (15)
Influenza 17 (7)
“High fever” 34 (13)
Temperature 23 (9)
Temperature of 38°C 9 (3)
“High temperature” 6 (2)
“Respiratory symptoms” 3 (1)

aSARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome. Quotation marks refer to actual phrases in newspaper articles.
bThese were the symptoms considered to predict SARS most strongly in the early stages of illness, according to Rainer et al. (4).
cOther symptoms included loss of appetite, malaise, rigor, vomiting, sore throat, dizziness, sputum, night sweat, coryza, abdominal pain, neck pain, nausea, arthralgia (“joint pain”), chest pain, rhinorrhoea (“runny nose”).

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