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The first global consultation on the epidemiology of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) took place in Geneva on 16 and 17 May (http://www.who.int/csr/sars/archive/2003_05_17/en/). The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations are based on the best available scientific evidence and to review the available epidemiological information in the context of its relevance to effective public health practice. Sixteen countries, including all those most affected by SARS, were represented either in person, by video link, or by telephone. A number of experts in the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases were also present.


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