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SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Updates
The following additions or updates were made to CDC guidance and/or information regarding SARS and influenza during the period of December 5 to December 12, 2003.  If you have any questions on these or other clinical issues, please call our Clinician’s Information Line at 877-554-4625:

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
The following change had been made to guidance related to sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

SARSCDC Releases Draft Version of New SARS Plan
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted the working draft version of its “Public Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness and Response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS),” on its web site.

The SARS Plan is a working document that outlines the concepts and strategies that would guide the U.S. response in the event of a SARS outbreak. It also describes many of the activities needed at the federal, state, and local levels to prepare for and respond rapidly and decisively to a reemergence of SARS. State and local health departments, hospitals and other public health providers will have an opportunity to comment on the draft and provide input to an effective SARS preparedness plan for the United States.

The plan is designed to assist federal, state, and local public health partners in developing or coordinating their own SARS preparedness and response planning activities, while taking into account available healthcare and public health resources, and other factors that are unique at each level.

The plan was prepared in close collaboration with domestic and international partners, and incorporates many of the concepts and approaches that were successfully used to contain SARS outbreaks in the United States and other counties with more widespread outbreaks.

In addition, it integrates and builds on other preparedness and response plans for SARS (e.g., U.S. Government Interagency SARS Concept of Operations Plan) and for other public health emergencies, such pandemic influenza and bioterrroism. The plan will be updated regularly and can be implemented immediately should SARS reemerge.

For more information about the SARS Plan, visit CDC’s web site at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/ or contact the Office of Communication at 404-639-3286.

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
(Guidelines for Laboratory Diagnosis of SARS-CoV Infection)
It is no longer sufficient to test two samples of the same specimen using RT-PCR to receive a definitive SARS laboratory diagnosis (it is impossible to rule out contamination).  Two or more specimens collected on the same day or at two different times are needed to confirm diagnosis using RT-PCR.

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