probable and suspect cases
Thomas M. Paikeday
t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Mon Apr 28 03:34:10 UTC 2003
I was wondering whether if I cough in public I am a suspect or probable case of SARS.
Reports like the following are heard in the media all day: "As of 14 April 2003, Health Canada has received reports of approximately 287 cases of SARS (103 probable and 184 suspect cases) in Canada. ... "
Everyone knows the meaning of the two words in isolation, but in this specific context, how does the CDC or the doctors distinguish between the two? Does one become a probable case first and then a suspect if more symptoms are manifested or is it the other way around? Or are suspect and probable cases free-standing entities? (I forgot to ask my doctor when I saw him last. Anyone got any idea?)
This is probably a safe conjecture, namely, if you returned to the U.S. from Toronto, you are a probable case, but if you cough while admitting it, you are a suspect.
Just thinking aloud after some googling!
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