Managing Febrile Respiratory Illnesses during a Hypothetical SARS Outbreak
Published Date:Feb 2005
Source:Emerg Infect Dis. 11(2):191-200.
Keywords:Communicable Disease Control
Decision Making, Computer-Assisted
New York City
Respiratory Tract Infections
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Description:Since the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) contained in July 2003, new cases have periodically reemerged in Asia. This situation has placed hospitals and health officials worldwide on heightened alert. In a future outbreak, rapidly and accurately distinguishing SARS from other common febrile respiratory illnesses (FRIs) could be difficult. We constructed a decision-analysis model to identify the most efficient strategies for managing undifferentiated FRIs within a hypothetical SARS outbreak in New York City during the season of respiratory infections. If establishing reliable epidemiologic links were not possible, societal costs would exceed 2.0 billion US dollars per month. SARS testing with existing polymerase chain reaction assays would have harmful public health and economic consequences if SARS made up <0.1% of circulating FRIs. Increasing influenza vaccination rates among the general population before the onset of respiratory season would save both money and lives.
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