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      The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus

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          Abstract

          The main route of transmission of SARS CoV infection is presumed to be respiratory droplets. However the virus is also detectable in other body fluids and excreta. The stability of the virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied. The dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, typical air-conditioned environments. However, virus viability was rapidly lost (>3 log 10) at higher temperatures and higher relative humidity (e.g., 38°C, and relative humidity of >95%). The better stability of SARS coronavirus at low temperature and low humidity environment may facilitate its transmission in community in subtropical area (such as Hong Kong) during the spring and in air-conditioned environments. It may also explain why some Asian countries in tropical area (such as Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand) with high temperature and high relative humidity environment did not have major community outbreaks of SARS.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Identification of a Novel Coronavirus in Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

          The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently been identified as a new clinical entity. SARS is thought to be caused by an unknown infectious agent. Clinical specimens from patients with SARS were searched for unknown viruses with the use of cell cultures and molecular techniques. A novel coronavirus was identified in patients with SARS. The virus was isolated in cell culture, and a sequence 300 nucleotides in length was obtained by a polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based random-amplification procedure. Genetic characterization indicated that the virus is only distantly related to known coronaviruses (identical in 50 to 60 percent of the nucleotide sequence). On the basis of the obtained sequence, conventional and real-time PCR assays for specific and sensitive detection of the novel virus were established. Virus was detected in a variety of clinical specimens from patients with SARS but not in controls. High concentrations of viral RNA of up to 100 million molecules per milliliter were found in sputum. Viral RNA was also detected at extremely low concentrations in plasma during the acute phase and in feces during the late convalescent phase. Infected patients showed seroconversion on the Vero cells in which the virus was isolated. The novel coronavirus might have a role in causing SARS. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            A novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

            A worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been associated with exposures originating from a single ill health care worker from Guangdong Province, China. We conducted studies to identify the etiologic agent of this outbreak. We received clinical specimens from patients in seven countries and tested them, using virus-isolation techniques, electron-microscopical and histologic studies, and molecular and serologic assays, in an attempt to identify a wide range of potential pathogens. None of the previously described respiratory pathogens were consistently identified. However, a novel coronavirus was isolated from patients who met the case definition of SARS. Cytopathological features were noted in Vero E6 cells inoculated with a throat-swab specimen. Electron-microscopical examination revealed ultrastructural features characteristic of coronaviruses. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining revealed reactivity with group I coronavirus polyclonal antibodies. Consensus coronavirus primers designed to amplify a fragment of the polymerase gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to obtain a sequence that clearly identified the isolate as a unique coronavirus only distantly related to previously sequenced coronaviruses. With specific diagnostic RT-PCR primers we identified several identical nucleotide sequences in 12 patients from several locations, a finding consistent with a point-source outbreak. Indirect fluorescence antibody tests and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays made with the new isolate have been used to demonstrate a virus-specific serologic response. This virus may never before have circulated in the U.S. population. A novel coronavirus is associated with this outbreak, and the evidence indicates that this virus has an etiologic role in SARS. Because of the death of Dr. Carlo Urbani, we propose that our first isolate be named the Urbani strain of SARS-associated coronavirus. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Epidemiological determinants of spread of causal agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Hong Kong

              Summary Background Health authorities worldwide, especially in the Asia Pacific region, are seeking effective public-health interventions in the continuing epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We assessed the epidemiology of SARS in Hong Kong. Methods We included 1425 cases reported up to April 28, 2003. An integrated database was constructed from several sources containing information on epidemiological, demographic, and clinical variables. We estimated the key epidemiological distributions: infection to onset, onset to admission, admission to death, and admission to discharge. We measured associations between the estimated case fatality rate and patients’age and the time from onset to admission. Findings After the initial phase of exponential growth, the rate of confirmed cases fell to less than 20 per day by April 28. Public-health interventions included encouragement to report to hospital rapidly after the onset of clinical symptoms, contact tracing for confirmed and suspected cases, and quarantining, monitoring, and restricting the travel of contacts. The mean incubation period of the disease is estimated to be 6.4 days (95% Cl 5.2–7.7). The mean time from onset of clinical symptoms to admission to hospital varied between 3 and 5 days, with longer times earlier in the epidemic. The estimated case fatality rate was 13.2% (9.8–16.8) for patients younger than 60 years and 43.3% (35.2–52.4) for patients aged 60 years or older assuming a parametric γ distribution. A non-parametric method yielded estimates of 6.8% (4.0–9.6) and 55.0% (45.3–64.7), respectively. Case clusters have played an important part in the course of the epidemic. Interpretation Patients’age was strongly associated with outcome. The time between onset of symptoms and admission to hospital did not alter outcome, but shorter intervals will be important to the wider population by restricting the infectious period before patients are placed in quarantine. Published online May 7, 2003 http://image.thelancet.com/extras/03art4453web.pdf
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Adv Virol
                AV
                Advances in Virology
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                1687-8639
                1687-8647
                2011
                1 October 2011
                : 2011
                Affiliations
                Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Alain Kohl

                Article
                10.1155/2011/734690
                3265313
                22312351
                045d2344-e082-488c-8b8a-99b51a293576
                Copyright © 2011 K. H. Chan et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Microbiology & Virology

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