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Severe acute respiratory syndrome and Toronto
  1. M Regan
  1. Health Protection Agency (North West), UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Regan, CDSC-North West, Vernon Pritchard Court, 57a Upper Northgate Street, Chester, UK; 

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Early detection and isolation of suspected cases is the key

“I hold my breath in elevators even empty ones”.1 This was the view of one Toronto resident I read in a local newspaper in late April this year. I had just joined, as an observer, the Federal Emergency Operations Centre that had been activated by Health Canada to coordinate efforts to contain and control the spread of SARS. However, my perception was that Canadians in general appear to have responded calmly and positively to the appearance of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and to the open and frank communication from territorial, provincial, and federal authorities about the infection and the measures they could take to protect themselves. Some political accusations and recriminations have followed over the handling of the SARS outbreak,2,3 but the overall impression that I was left with was of a calm and well informed public who had confidence in the measures being taken by health officials and politicians under extreme pressure to manage a new infection that is yet to be fully understood.

The emergence of SARS and its health, social, and economic impacts has been the subject of intense international discussion …

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