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Emerg Med Serv. 2003 Jul;32(7):77-83.

Developing a highly contagious disease readiness plan: the SARS experience.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The CDC and the World Health Organization have characterized a highly contagious syndrome that has resulted in numerous deaths worldwide. This infectious agent represents a new arena of highly contagious illness that could be a significant threat to the U.S. healthcare system. This disease has severely affected populations in the Far East and in Canada. While relatively few cases have been identified in the United States, there is a significant possibility that this agent will affect U.S. populations in the autumn--a time period when many viral diseases migrate from the Far East to North America. EMS agencies must use this window of time to define the characteristics of dangerous agents and develop a highly contagious disease readiness plan.

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