WHO removes Toronto from list of areas with recent local transmission of SARS

14 May 2003

The United Nations health agency today removed Toronto, Canada, from the list of areas with recent local transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), saying it has been 20 days since the last isolation of a locally acquired case and the city therefore met the criteria for the change in status.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said it made the decision after reviewing the data on the SARS situation in Canada and summarizing the criteria and procedures it uses when making decisions about areas to included on the list.

The most important consideration is whether 20 days have passed since the last locally acquired case was isolated, the agency said. If no further cases have occurred for 20 days, which is twice the maximum incubation period for SARS, the chain of transmission is considered broken. WHO confirmed that the last locally acquired case in Canada was isolated on 20 April.

Toronto was also removed last month from the list of areas for which WHO has issued recommendations pertaining to international travel. It issues these travel alerts as one of several measures designed to reduce the further spread of the disease.

As of today, a cumulative total of 7628 probable cases and 587 deaths have been reported from 29 countries, representing an increase of 97 cases and 14 deaths when compared with yesterday.


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