Efficiency of quarantine during an epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome--Beijing, China, 2003

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003 Oct 31;52(43):1037-40.


During March--July 2003, an epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Beijing, China, accounted for 2,521 probable cases (attack rate: 19 per 100,000 population). To control the epidemic, public health officials initiated enhanced surveillance, isolation of SARS patients, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health-care workers, and quarantine of contacts of known SARS patients. Approximately 30,000 Beijing residents were quarantined in their homes or quarantine sites. To guide future quarantine policy, the Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program (China FETP) of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) conducted a survey to estimate the risk for acquiring SARS among quarantined residents of Haidian District (2001 population: 2.24 million), Beijing, in May 2003, 1 month after the epidemic peaked. This report summarizes the results of that survey, which indicate that, as a component of a comprehensive SARS-control program, quarantine should be limited to persons who have contact with an actively ill SARS patient in the home or hospital, allowing for better focus of resources in future outbreaks.

MeSH terms

  • China / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Quarantine*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control*