An epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) began in Foshan municipality, Guangdong Province, China, in November 2002. This document outlines the results of a SARS study on case reports through April 30, 2003, including data from case investigations and a case series analysis of index cases. A total of 1,454 clinically confirmed cases (and 55 deaths) occurred; the epidemic peak was in the first week of February 2003. Healthcare workers accounted for 24% of cases. Clinical signs and symptoms differed between children (<18 years) and older persons (>65 years). Several observations support the hypothesis of a wild animal origin for SARS. Cases apparently occurred independently in at least five different municipalities; early case-patients were more likely than later patients to report living near a produce market (odds ratio undefined; lower 95% confidence interval 2.39) but not near a farm; and 9 (39%) of 23 early patients, including 6 who lived or worked in Foshan, were food handlers with probable animal contact.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/index.htm
Emerging Infectious Diseases (June 2004), v.10, no.6, p. 1030-1037