Public health interventions and SARS spread, 2003

David M. Bell, Ximena Aguilera, Roy Anderson, Dounia Bitar, Martin Cetron, Pattie Simone, Chew Suok Kai, Benjamin K.W. Koh, Clete DiGiovanni, Arlene King, Cindy K.L. Lai, P. L. Ma, Angus Nicoll, Jane Leese, Sonja Olsen, Alice Sarradet, Mingchang Song, Ron St. John, Susan Courage, Robert SteffenLeonie Prasad, Ih Jen Su, S. K. Lai, Julie Hall, Emmanuel Jesuthasan, Angela Merianos, Cathy Roth, Max Hardiman, Hitoshi Oshitani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

193 Citations (Scopus)


The 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was contained largely through traditional public health interventions, such as finding and isolating case-patients, quarantining close contacts, and enhanced infection control. The independent effectiveness of measures to "increase social distance" and wearing masks in public places requires further evaluation. Limited data exist on the effectiveness of providing health information to travelers. Entry screening of travelers through health declarations or thermal scanning at international borders had little documented effect on detecting SARS cases; exit screening appeared slightly more effective. The value of border screening in deterring travel by ill persons and in building public confidence remains unquantified. Interventions to control global epidemics should be based on expert advice from the World Health Organization and national authorities. In the case of SARS, interventions at a country's borders should not detract from efforts to identify and isolate infected persons within the country, monitor or quarantine their contacts, and strengthen infection control in healthcare settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1900-1906
Number of pages7
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov


Dive into the research topics of 'Public health interventions and SARS spread, 2003'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this