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      SARS: epidemiology


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          Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) originated in Southern China in November 2002, and was brought to Hong Kong in February 2003. From Hong Kong, the disease spread rapidly worldwide but mostly to Asian countries. At the end of the epidemic in June, the global cumulative total was 8422 cases with 916 deaths (case fatality rate of 11%). People of all ages were affected, but predominantly females. Health care workers were at high risk and accounted for one‐fifth of all cases. Risk factors for death included old age and comorbid illnesses, especially diabetes. The disease is caused by a novel coronavirus and is transmitted by droplets or direct inoculation from contact with infected surfaces. Contaminated sewage was found to be responsible for the outbreak in a housing estate in Hong Kong affecting over 300 residents. The mean incubation period was 6.4 days (range 2–10). The duration between onset of symptoms and hospitalisation was from 3 to 5 days. The relatively prolonged incubation period allowed asymptomatic air travellers to spread the disease globally. The number of individuals infected by each case has been estimated to be 2.7. Effective control of nosocomial transmission included early detection of disease, strict isolation of patients, practice of droplet and contact precautions and compliance with the use of personal protective equipment. Effective control of disease spread in the community included tracing and quarantine of contacts. Development of a validated diagnostic test and an effective vaccine as well as elimination of possible animal reservoirs are measures needed to prevent another epidemic.

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          Most cited references 10

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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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              Characterization of a novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

               P Rota (2003)
              In March 2003, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was discovered in association with cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The sequence of the complete genome of SARS-CoV was determined, and the initial characterization of the viral genome is presented in this report. The genome of SARS-CoV is 29,727 nucleotides in length and has 11 open reading frames, and its genome organization is similar to that of other coronaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses and sequence comparisons showed that SARS-CoV is not closely related to any of the previously characterized coronaviruses.

                Author and article information

                Respirology (Carlton, Vic.)
                Blackwell Science Pty (Melbourne, Australia )
                14 November 2003
                November 2003
                : 8
                : Suppl 1 ( doiID: 10.1111/res.2003.8.issue-s1 )
                : S9-S14
                [ 1 ]The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR,
                [ 2 ]Centre for Diseases Control, Guangzhou, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Moira Chan‐Yeung, University Depa‐rtment of Medicine, 4/F, Professorial Block, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, SAR, China, Tel. 852‐2855‐4385; Fax: 852‐2855‐1143; 
E‐mail: mmwchan@ 123456hkucc.hku.hk

                This article is being made freely available through PubMed Central as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency response. It can be used for unrestricted research re-use and analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source, for the duration of the public health emergency.

                Page count
                links-crossref: 0, links-pubmed: 0, Figures: 3, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 31, Pages: 6, Words: 2695
                Original Articles
                Custom metadata
                November 2003
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.8.0 mode:remove_FC converted:15.04.2020


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