The first case of the disease that becomes known as severe acute respiratory
syndrome is reported in China's Foshan City, according to the World
A Chinese government health committee submits a "top secret"
report to the Guangdong province health department, detailing
a new illness, according to The Washington Post. The document
sits unopened for three days because no one with the requisite
security clearance is available to read it. Once the health department
reads the report, they send a bulletin to the province's hospitals,
but few health care workers become aware of the new illness, since
most are away for the Chinese New Year.
A Virginia resident visiting China contracts the illness later
known as SARS.
The Chinese Ministry of Health notifies the World Health Organization
that 305 cases of a respiratory illness emerged in the Guangdong province
between Nov. 16, 2002 and Feb. 9, 2003 with no known cause.
A man from Guangdong checks into Hong Kong's Metropole Hotel,
later developing SARS. Twelve other Metropole guests eventually
The WHO sends two doctors to Beijing to look into the new illness, but
the Chinese government prevents them from conducting their investigation.
Dr. Carlos Urbani from the WHO first identifies SARS while examining
a hospitalized patient in Hanoi, Vietnam with a severe form of
pneumonia, for which there was no known cause. After that patient
was admitted to the hospital, some 20 hospital staff became sick
with similar symptoms. Dr.
Urbani died of SARS about one month after making this initial