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V. Organization of the Guidance Document

Core Document

Public Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness and Response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Version 2/3


Since 2004, there have not been any known cases of SARS reported anywhere in the world. The content in this Web site was developed for the 2003 SARS epidemic. But, some guidelines are still being used. Any new SARS updates will be posted on this Web site.

The document is organized into four levels of progressively more detailed information: 1) executive summary; 2) core document; 3) stand-alone supplements that address the key measures for SARS preparedness and response; and 4) attachments to each supplement that provide guidance and tools for local-level preparedness and response activities.

The Supplements included in this document are:

Supplement A: Command and Control
Supplement B: SARS Surveillance
Supplement C: Preparedness and Response in Healthcare Facilities
Supplement D: Community Containment Measures, Including Non-Hospital Isolation and Quarantine
Supplement E: Managing International Travel-Related Transmission Risk
Supplement F: Laboratory Diagnosis
Supplement G: Communication and Education
Supplement H: Plans for SARS Investigations and Epidemiologic Research (under development)
Supplement I: Infection Control in Healthcare, Home, and Community Settings

Each Supplement outlines, and in some cases describes in some detail, many of the interrelated and multifaceted activities that need to or could be undertaken at the local level to prepare for and respond to the reemergence of SARS. Also included are guidelines and resource materials to assist public health officials and healthcare facilities in planning and implementing a response. To address the dynamic nature of a SARS outbreak and each jurisdiction's unique situation, each Supplement considers, as applicable:

  • Recommendations for preparedness and contingency planning that should occur prior to the reappearance of SARS
  • Strategies for a basic level of response in U.S. communities to the reappearance of SARS in other parts of the world
  • Options for enhancing the intensity and scope of local strategies to address changing dynamics of the outbreak or response
  • Options for modifying the response in reaction to new information on transmission dynamics, improved diagnostic testing, or introduction of new therapeutic or prophylactic interventions
  • Criteria and approaches for de-escalating the response as SARS-CoV transmission is controlled and eliminated

Using this guidance document, localities can develop operational SARS preparedness and response plans that reflect consistent approaches among and within jurisdictions to outbreaks of similar characteristics, while taking into account available healthcare and public health resources, public perceptions, and other factors that are unique to each community. The document will be updated as necessary to reflect increased understanding of SARS-CoV transmission dynamics and availability of improved prevention tools.

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