Assessment of transmissibility and measures effectiveness of SARS in 8 regions, China, 2002-2003


Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a form of atypical pneumonia which took hundreds of lives when it swept the world two decades ago. The pathogen of SARS was identified as SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and it was mainly transmitted in China during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 have emerged from the SARS metapopulation of viruses. However, they gave rise to two different disease dynamics, a limited epidemic, and an uncontrolled pandemic, respectively. The characteristics of its spread in China are particularly noteworthy. In this paper, the unique characteristics of time, space, population distribution and transmissibility of SARS for the epidemic were discussed in detail. Methods We adopted sliding average method to process the number of reported cases per day. An SEIAR transmission dynamics model, which was the first to take asymptomatic group into consideration and applied indicators of R 0, Reff , Rt to evaluate the transmissibility of SARS, and further illustrated the control effectiveness of interventions for SARS in 8 Chinese cities. Results The R 0 for SARS in descending order was: Tianjin city (R 0 = 8.249), Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi Province, Hebei Province, Beijing City, Guangdong Province, Taiwan Province, and Hong Kong. R 0 of the SARS epidemic was generally higher in Mainland China than in Hong Kong and Taiwan Province (Mainland China: R 0 = 6.058 ± 1.703, Hong Kong: R 0 = 2.159, Taiwan: R 0 = 3.223). All cities included in this study controlled the epidemic successfully (Reff<1) with differences in duration. Rt in all regions showed a downward trend, but there were significant fluctuations in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Taiwan Province compared to other areas. Conclusions The SARS epidemic in China showed a trend of spreading from south to north, i.e., Guangdong Province and Beijing City being the central regions, respectively, and from there to the surrounding areas. In contrast, the SARS epidemic in the central region did not stir a large-scale transmission. There were also significant differences in transmissibility among eight regions, with R0 significantly higher in the northern region than that in the southern region. Different regions were able to control the outbreak successfully in differences time.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol