Top 10 Lessons Learned from the SARS Outbreak in Toronto

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -- With respiratory disease season underway, make sure to have plans in place to prepare for a possible reemergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome, Dr. Daniel R. Lucey advised in an interview during a poster session at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

"Being prepared would include being familiar with the precautions that health care workers and other people need to take to be protective against getting infected with the SARS coronavirus," said Dr. Lucey, director of the Center for Biologic Counterterrorism and Emerging Diseases at Washington Hospital Center.

"Have a plan--preferably something in writing--for what to do when the first person comes into your clinic or hospital with a fever and a respiratory illness that might be SARS," he said at the meeting, also sponsored by the University of Kentucky and the International Endotoxin Society.

In June 2003, officials from Ontario invited Dr. Lucey and six other infectious disease experts to help Toronto hospitals implement appropriate infection control programs and care for patients with SARS. The experts compiled this "top 10 list" of lessons learned from fighting SARS in Toronto:

1. Use a one-page "SARS Screening Tool" to look for epidemiologic and medical risks for SARS in all persons who enter hospitals. …