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WASHINGTON, D.C. and ATLANTA -- As of July 3 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed its travel alert for mainland China, with the exception of Beijing, to reflect the changing status of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) cases reported in this area. The alert for mainland China was lifted because more than 30 days had elapsed since the date of onset of symptoms for the last SARS case.
The travel alert for Beijing remains in effect until there is no evidence of new cases for three maximal incubation periods after the date of onset of symptoms for the last case. For SARS, this period would be 30 days.
In response to the SARS epidemic, CDC issues two types of notices to travelers: alerts and advisories. A travel advisory recommends that nonessential travel be deferred; a travel alert does not advise against travel, but informs travelers of a health concern and provides advice about specific precautions. Recommendations to postpone travel or observe precautions are issued in consideration of several factors, including the magnitude of current SARS cases, the pattern of recent local transmission, and the last date of onset of cases.
Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Toronto are the remaining areas under CDC's travel alert. CDC continues to distribute health alert notices about SARS to people traveling to the United States from these areas. Individuals who travel to Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Toronto should monitor their health while there and for at least 10 days after departure. If fever or respiratory symptoms (for example, cough or shortness of breath) develop, a visit to a healthcare provider is strongly recommended. The provider should be informed about the symptoms in advance so arrangements can be made, if necessary, to prevent transmission to others in the healthcare setting