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Household transmission of SARS: Lessons learned

In the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Toronto, Ontario, about 20% of cases resulted from household transmission (spread of the infection within a household).

Wilson-Clark and colleagues studied the characteristics of these household transmissions and report on risk factors that contributed to the spread of infection. Primary risk factors for transmission fall into 3 areas: the duration of time spent in the home by the index case (first case) after becoming ill, poor hand hygiene and poor use of respiratory protective measures.

SARS presented a unique public health situation, in which urgent prevention and control measures neededto be taken, while at the same time the identity of the infectious agent was unknown.

Source:Canadian Medical Association Journal

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