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Possible role of an animal vector in the SARS outbreak at Amoy Gardens.

Authors
  • Ng, Stephen K C
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Lancet
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Aug 16, 2003
Volume
362
Issue
9383
Pages
570–572
Identifiers
PMID: 12932393
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A mass outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the Amoy Gardens housing complex in Hong Kong at the end of March, 2003, affected more than 300 residents in less than a month, and has epidemiologists all over the world puzzled about the mode of transmission of this new disease, which until then was thought to be transmitted solely by respiratory droplets. The source of the outbreak was later traced to an individual with SARS who spent two nights at Amoy Gardens. Official explanations failed to account for the large number of residents infected over a wide area within a short time. A powerful environmental mechanism that efficiently amplified and distributed the causal agent must have been at work to cause this outbreak. One such mechanism could be an animal vector, most probably roof rats, that was infected by the index patient and subsequently spread the disease to more than 150 households.

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