Quarantining in hospital has proved effective in reducing the transmission
of SARS and could potentially eradicate the disease, scientists from Imperial
College in London and in Hong Kong have concluded.
The research, published in The Lancet, studied 1,425 cases from Hong Kong up
to the end of April and found that after an exponential growth, public health
interventions led to a drop in confirmed cases to less than 20 a day.
Effective measures included the encouragement to report to hospital rapidly after
the onset of clinical symptoms, the tracing of contacts of confirmed and
suspected cases, and quarantining, monitoring and restricting travel for
The average incubation period was estimated to be 6.4 days. The average time
between the onset of clinical symptoms to hospital admission varied from three
to five days, with longer intervals reported earlier on in the epidemic.
The fatality rate among those admitted to hospital aged 60 or over was
estimated to be far higher than in those below this age.
Researcher Professor Roy Anderson, of Imperial’s faculty of primary care and
population health sciences, said: "The epidemic has demonstrated the need
for communication of risk which will inform and warn the public, in a way which
will improve personal protection without inducing high levels of anxiety and
fear, as an essential part of epidemic control."
Ref: volume 361, number 9369