SARS in hospital emergency room

Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 May;10(5):782-8. doi: 10.3201/eid1005.030579.

Abstract

Thirty-one cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) occurred after exposure in the emergency room at the National Taiwan University Hospital. The index patient was linked to an outbreak at a nearby municipal hospital. Three clusters were identified over a 3-week period. The first cluster (5 patients) and the second cluster (14 patients) occurred among patients, family members, and nursing aids. The third cluster (12 patients) occurred exclusively among healthcare workers. Six healthcare workers had close contact with SARS patients. Six others, with different working patterns, indicated that they did not have contact with a SARS patient. Environmental surveys found 9 of 119 samples of inanimate objects to be positive for SARS coronavirus RNA. These observations indicate that although transmission by direct contact with known SARS patients was responsible for most cases, environmental contamination with the SARS coronavirus may have lead to infection among healthcare workers without documented contact with known hospitalized SARS patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / transmission
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology
  • Contact Tracing
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals, University*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • SARS Virus / genetics
  • SARS Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Taiwan / epidemiology

Substances

  • RNA, Viral