Preventive measures for participants in WHO Global Conference on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
The measures set out below will be monitored closely and updated according to new information available and experience in its implementation.
1. Participants arriving from areas with recent local transmission
A person who has (i) in the last 10 days been in close contact with a SARS case and/or (ii) has worked in or visited hospitals handling SARS cases should not travel within or outside the country of exposure until a 10 day period with no exposure has passed. This person should, during that time, remain under surveillance of national health authorities.
Participants arriving from areas with recent local transmission (an updated list can be found at http://www.who.int/csr/sarsareas/) must follow the advice below:
- those who are symptom-free and have not been in close contact1 with a diagnosed or suspected SARS patient or worked in or visited hospitals handling SARS patients should attend the conference while remaining vigilant for symptoms during the following 10 days;
- those presenting symptoms2 within a period of up to 10 days after departing the affected area should not attend meetings, avoid close contact1 with other persons, call a physician by phone immediately and arrange to be seen, and immediately notify the Malaysian Medical Service3.
2. Participants arriving from areas where recent local transmission has not occurred
Participants arriving from areas where recent local transmission has not occurred should attend the conference. However, due to the possibility of transmission within aircraft, they should attend only if they feel well and have not had close contact with a sick person during travel. If in doubt, the participants should call the Malaysian Medical Service3 for further advice.
3. Participants in the conference
- All delegates to the conference should travel only if in good health. They should also be reminded that they must abide by established medical procedures at departure and arrival points;
- Excellent hygiene (regular hand-washing, avoidance of close contact with people who are ill, covering mouth when coughing, etc.) is the most important and appropriate way to protect oneself and others.
- If symptoms2 develop, immediately contact the Malaysian Medical Service3 and avoid close contact with other persons.
4. Further information
For further information, please consult the following WHO web pages: http://www.who.int/csr/sars/en/
Annex I - KEY FACTS
Disease: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is an acute infectious disease. The main symptoms are sudden high fever (>38°C), dry cough, shortness of breath and/or breathing difficulties. Changes in chest X-ray indicative of pneumonia also occur. SARS may be associated with other symptoms, including headache, muscular stiffness, loss of appetite, malaise, confusion, rash and diarrhoea.
Infectious agent: The cause of SARS appears to be a virus of the coronarvirus group that had not been previously isolated. Other types of this virus are known to cause the common cold.
Occurrence: The outbreak of SARS appeared to have started in Guangdong province, China, during November 2002. International spread of the disease took place in February this year.
Mode of transmission: SARS commonly spreads by close person-to-person contact, such as intimate contact, providing care, same household, having direct contact with respiratory secretions (saliva droplets of a person coughing or sneezing), body fluids and/or excretions (e.g. faeces) of suspected or probable cases of SARS.
Incubation period: The incubation period (the time from contact with an infected person until development of disease) is normally two to seven days, but can be as much as 10 days.
1Contact definition: intimate contact, providing care, same household, having direct contact with respiratory secretions (saliva droplets of a person coughing or sneezing), body fluids and/or excretions (e.g. faeces) of suspected or probable cases of SARS.
2Symptoms: fever (>38°C), dry cough, shortness of breath, and/or difficulty in breathing.
3Malaysian Medical Service, Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel, Malaysia.