A patient with asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and antigenemia from the 2003-2004 community outbreak of SARS in Guangzhou, China

Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jul 1;43(1):e1-5. doi: 10.1086/504943. Epub 2006 May 18.


An asymptomatic case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) occurred early in 2004, during a community outbreak of SARS in Guangzhou, China. This was the first time that a case of asymptomatic SARS was noted in an individual with antigenemia and seroconversion. The asymptomatic case patient and the second index case patient with SARS in the 2003-2004 outbreak both worked in the same restaurant, where they served palm civets, which were found to carry SARS-associated coronaviruses. Epidemiological information and laboratory findings suggested that the findings for the patient with asymptomatic infection, together with the findings from previously reported serological analyses of handlers of wild animals and the 4 index case patients from the 2004 community outbreak, reflected a likely intermediate phase of animal-to-human transmission of infection, rather than a case of human-to-human transmission. This intermediate phase may be a critical stage for virus evolution and disease prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / blood*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serologic Tests
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / immunology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission
  • Viverridae / virology


  • Antigens, Viral