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Delaware Health Alert Network #11

March 22, 2003 6:18 pm

Health Information

For purposes of case finding and surveillance in the United States, the March 17th CDC SARS case definition has been updated as follows:

  • Temperature must be measured
  • SARS areas are limited to those with suspected or documented community transmission; this differs from the WHO definition as it excludes areas where secondary transmission has been limited to only health care workers or direct household contacts. Note : the list of SARS areas will be updated as new information becomes available.

Suspected Case:

Respiratory illness of unknown etiology with onset since February 1, 2003, and the following criteria:

  • Measured temperature >100.4°F (>38°C)
  • One or more clinical findings of respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia or radiographic findings of either pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome)
  • Travel within 10 days of onset of symptoms to an area with suspected or documented community transmission of SARS (see list below; excludes areas with secondary cases limited to healthcare workers or direct household contacts)


  • Close contact* within 10 days of onset of symptoms with either a person with a respiratory illness and travel to a SARS area or a person under investigation or suspected of having SARS

* Close contact is defined as having cared for, having lived with, or having had direct contact with respiratory secretions and /or body fluids of a patient suspected of having SARS.

List of areas with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong province, Peoples' Republic of China; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Singapore

Note: Suspect cases with either radiographic evidence of pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome; or evidence of unexplained respiratory distress syndrome by autopsy are designated "probable" cases by the WHO case definition.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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