To better assess the risk for transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), a SARS investigation group obtained serial specimens and clinical and exposure data from seven confirmed U.S. SARS patients and their 10 household contacts. SARS-CoV was detected in a day-14 sputum specimen from one case-patient and in five stool specimens from two case-patients. In one case-patient, SARS-CoV persisted in stool for at least 26 days after symptom onset. The highest amounts of virus were in the day-14 sputum sample and a day-14 stool sample. Residual respiratory symptoms were still present in recovered SARS case-patients 2 months after illness onset. Possible transmission of SARS-CoV occurred in one household contact, but this person had also traveled to a SARS-affected area. This document examines the results of that data. The data suggest that SARS-CoV is not always transmitted efficiently. Routine collection and testing of stool and sputum specimens of probable SARS case-patients may help the early detection of SARS-CoV infection.
Emerging Infectious Diseases (February 2004), v.10, no.2, p. 225-231