'Probable' U.S. SARS Cases Now at 35
CDC Adopts Stricter WHO Definition of Likely SARS Cases
SARS Transmission and Testing in the U.S.
The CDC also released information today about two instances of
SARS transmission among people who are thought to have contracted the disease
from an infected family member who traveled abroad.
In the first case, a 40-year-old American male traveled to
mainland China and Hanoi and developed symptoms of SARS one day after returning
to the U.S. on March 10. He later developed pneumonia and was hospitalized. His
7-year-old child subsequently developed a fever and cough on March 16 and was
hospitalized for observation.
In the second case, a 39-year-old man traveled to Hong Kong
with his wife March 1-6 and stayed in a hotel where many of the first SARS
cases are known to have stayed. On March 13, he developed a fever and
respiratory symptoms, was later hospitalized with pneumonia, and tested
positive for the coronavirus. On March 19, 13 days after returning home from
Hong Kong, his wife also became ill and was hospitalized with pneumonia.
Although the genetic sequencing of the coronavirus now
confirmed as the cause of SARS means researchers can further refine tests to
screen for the disease, Gerberding says not enough is known yet about their
accuracy and reliability for them to be the sole indicator of SARS.
"With the tests we have right now -- until we do more
testing and we know what the sensitivity of the tests are -- we are going to be
very loathe to say someone doesn't have SARS on the basis of a single
test," says Gerberding. "These are new tests and no one knows how
specific they are. We don't want to be in a position that we make a
Gerberding says currently available tests that screen for the
SARS virus are being used for public health purposes to monitor the spread of
disease. A test must be FDA- approved for it to be used for diagnostic purposes
to guide individual patient treatment. The approval process is currently on the
FDA's fast track.