Communication is key to successful U.S. SARS quarantine

December 01, 2003

LOUISVILLE, Ky.-Good communication with the public is key to a successful quarantine for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, says a report submitted today to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Public education and support for quarantine are essential to high rates of compliance with voluntary quarantine, and communication plays a key role, according to the report from the University of Louisville's Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law.

"We found that having a single, authoritative spokesperson and regular communication channels were extremely important to the success of SARS quarantines," said Mark Rothstein, who supervised preparation of the report at the request of the CDC.

Rothstein's team examined events during the SARS epidemic last winter and spring in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. About 8,000 people were infected with SARS, with 780 fatalities in more than 25 countries. "It could have been worse without aggressive public health measures."

SARS was a new virus that struck unexpectedly and the countries affected had little time to plan a response, Rothstein said.

To combat the epidemic, the countries studied in the report imposed large-scale quarantines and the vast majority of people took part voluntarily. "Obtaining and enforcing court orders for quarantine would have been a logistical nightmare and that's why communication was so important in obtaining the support of the people."

The 160-page report also discusses ways in which lessons learned from the SARS outbreak can help guide U.S. public health policy. These include increasing infrastructure capacity, expanding training for public health professionals and coordinating emergency response measures at all levels of government and the private sector.

"The purpose of our report is to highlight the successes abroad and point out the problem areas," he said. "The U.S. response to an infectious disease outbreak should be swift and effective while causing as little social and economic disruption as possible."

U of L's Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law conducts interdisciplinary research in emerging areas of bioethics, health sciences, public health, law, and related fields, with special attention to relevant legislative and regulatory issues. It is one of two CDC Collaborating Centers for Public Health Law.

The entire report, "Quarantine and Isolation: Lessons Learned from SARS," is available online at http://www.instituteforbioethics.com.
-end-


University of Louisville

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.