Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by SARS-associated coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) (Drosten et al., 2003; Fouchier et al., 2003; Peiris et al., 2003b; Ksiazek et al., 2003). The first known outbreak of SARS occurred in China's Guangdong province in November, 2002 (Chinese SARS Molecular Epidemiology Consortium, 2004). By August 7 of the following year, SARS had spread to more than 30 countries, affecting 8,096 people and resulting in 774 deaths worldwide (World Health Organization, 2004). In 2003, Taiwan experienced a series of SARS outbreaks and the Municipal Hoping Hospital (referred to hereafter as HP) in Taipei City suffered the first and the most serious outbreak of SARS-CoV nosocomial infections: 137 probable cases and 26 deaths (Division of Surveillance and Investigation, Center for Disease Control, Taiwan, 2003; Lan et al., 2005b). According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Taiwan, 364 of the 664 probable Taiwanese SARS cases reported to the World Health Organization were confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and/or neutralizing antibody tests (Center for Disease Control, 2003a). In this chapter, we will discuss the molecular and clinical epidemiology of SARS infection in Taiwan during 2003.
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