SARS Outbreak Study 1

Outbreak Control

Just as you are going over your descriptive analysis, Dr. Zapp calls you in your office to let you know that the SARS diagnosis has been confirmed for all 12 dead cases from the Amoy Apartment Complex. Your primary goal now is to plan an effective outbreak management .

During the outbreak management it may be necessary to take the following measures: quarantine (isolate a person until he or she is no longer infectious), isolate contacts, and conduct additional surveillance (passive and active).

9. What do you think would be an appropriate measure to control the outbreaks given what we know about SARS?

  1. Isolation and quarantine
  2. Educate the public on how to avoid infection
Answer (a) — correct: We want to isolate an infected person until he or she is no longer infectious. Further, we want to quarantine those who have been exposed and may be infected but are not yet ill. Separating exposed people and restricting their movements is intended to stop the spread of the infection. Quarantine is medically very effective in protecting the public from disease.
Answer (b) — incorrect: While this is a necessary precaution for those individuals who may potentially come into contact with diseased individuals, public awareness alone would not be sufficient to address the two outbreaks in question.

Intellectually curious?

Learn more about the laboratory methods used in the outbreak investigation .