Journal Article

Predicting Super Spreading Events during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Epidemics in Hong Kong and Singapore

Yuguo Li, Ignatius T. S. Yu, Pengcheng Xu, J. H. W. Lee, Tze Wai Wong, Peng Lim Ooi and Adrian C. Sleigh

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 8, pages 719-728
Published in print October 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwh273
Predicting Super Spreading Events during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Epidemics in Hong Kong and Singapore

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One of the intriguing characteristics of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemics was the occurrence of super spreading events (SSEs). Here, the authors report the results of identifying the occurrence of SSEs in the Hong Kong and Singapore epidemics using mathematical and statistical analysis. Their predicted occurrence of SSEs agreed well with the reported occurrence of all seven super spreaders in the two cities. Additional unidentified SSEs were also found to exist. It was found that 71.1% and 74.8% of the infections were attributable to SSEs in Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively. There also seemed to be “synchronized” occurrences of infection peaks in both the community and the hospitals in Hong Kong. The results strongly suggested that the infection did not depend on the total number of symptomatic cases, with only a very small proportion of symptomatic individuals being shown to be infectious (i.e., able to infect other individuals). The authors found that the daily infection rate did not correlate with the daily total number of symptomatic cases but with the daily number of symptomatic cases who were not admitted to a hospital within 4 days of the onset of symptoms.

Keywords: disease outbreaks; disease transmission; infection; severe acute respiratory syndrome; Abbreviations: SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome; SSE, super spreading event.

Journal Article.  5316 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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