Surveillance report Open Access
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During the SARS epidemic, many patients were screened according to WHO criteria but never went on to develop SARS. In May 2003, early in the epidemic, we conducted a retrospective study to describe suspected SARS patients hospitalised in France and compared them with documented cases of patients with SARS to evaluate the screening strategy. A total of 117 patients were studied. Only 3.4% had been in close contact with a SARS patient but 73.5% came from an affected area. 67.5% had fever and respiratory symptoms on their admission to hospital. 49.6% had fever and non specific symptoms. Clinical symptoms that were significantly more common among patients with SARS were fever, myalgia, dyspnoea, and nausea or vomiting. Presumed viral fever and respiratory tract infection were the most common diagnosis. Symptoms cannot be distinguished from an early stage of SARS confirming the usefulness of the WHO case definitions in isolation decision to avoid further transmission.


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