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As the case toll climbed steadily toward 4,000 earlier this week, scientists chasing the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) conceded that their hopes for eradicating the disease were fading.

Instead, they are asking how far and fast SARS will spread and whether it can be contained in relatively small outbreaks. At this point in time, epidemiologists simply don't know the answer.

In this article, Gretchen Vogel describes what researchers are doing to predict the course of the disease — which is now thought to be caused by a new type of coronavirus — both in terms of its incubation period and its route of transmission.

Link to Science article

Reference: Science 300, 558 (2003)

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