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[4 April 2003] International travellers should be aware of the main symptoms of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome): high fever (38'Celsius, 100.4' Fahrenheit), dry cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. Persons who experience these symptoms and who have been in an affected area (see archives of affected areas) are advised to see a doctor.

WHO recommends that persons travelling to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong Province, China consider postponing all but essential travel. This temporary recommendation is being reassessed daily as the outbreak evolves. The recommendation does not apply to passengers simply transiting through international airports in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or Guangdong Province, China.

International travellers departing from the places on the affected areas list (aee archives of affected areas) should be screened for possible SARS at the point of departure. These affected areas have shown transmission of the SARS infectious agent from human to human. Such screening involves answering two or three questions. Travellers with one or more symptoms of SARS and who have a history of exposure or who appear acutely ill should be assessed by a clinician and may be advised to postpone their trip until they feel better.

Most cases of SARS occur in persons who have had close face-to-face contact with SARS patients. Direct contact with (exhaled) droplets and bodily secretions from an infected person appear to be important. However, other routes of transmission are under investigation.

Travellers are advised to contact their doctors or national health authorities for supplementary information as individual countries may adapt WHO's recommendations to take into account national considerations. Many national health authorities have established web sites with excellent information.

All available WHO information is posted on the WHO SARS web site which is regularly updated.

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