Lack of SARS transmission and U.S. SARS case-patient

Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Feb;10(2):217-24. doi: 10.3201/eid1002.030746.


In early April 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was diagnosed in a Pennsylvania resident after his exposure to persons with SARS in Toronto, Canada. To identify contacts of the case-patient and evaluate the risk for SARS transmission, a detailed epidemiologic investigation was performed. On the basis of this investigation, 26 persons (17 healthcare workers, 4 household contacts, and 5 others) were identified as having had close contact with this case-patient before infection-control practices were implemented. Laboratory evaluation of clinical specimens showed no evidence of transmission of SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection to any close contact of this patient. This investigation documents that, under certain circumstances, SARS-CoV is not readily transmitted to close contacts, despite ample unprotected exposures. Improving the understanding of risk factors for transmission will help focus public health control measures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Contact Tracing
  • Epidemiologic Factors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission*
  • Time Factors
  • Travel
  • United States / epidemiology