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Risk Perception and Compliance With Quarantine During the SARS Outbreak

Authors

  • Maureen A. Cava,

    1. Maureen A. Cava, RN, MS, Lambda Pi-at-Large, University of Toronto and Manager, Professional Practice, Planning & Policy; Krissa E. Fay, MSW, Research Assistant, both at Toronto Public Health; Heather J. Beanlands, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor; Elizabeth A. McCay, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor, CIHR New Investigator, both at Ryerson University; Rouleen Wignall, PhD, Independent Scholar; all are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care as part of a larger study, the SARS Quarantine Evaluation/Community Transmission Study. Correspondence to Ms. Cava, Toronto Public Health, 277 Victoria Street, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W2. E-mail: mcava@toronto.ca
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  • Krissa E. Fay,

    1. Maureen A. Cava, RN, MS, Lambda Pi-at-Large, University of Toronto and Manager, Professional Practice, Planning & Policy; Krissa E. Fay, MSW, Research Assistant, both at Toronto Public Health; Heather J. Beanlands, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor; Elizabeth A. McCay, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor, CIHR New Investigator, both at Ryerson University; Rouleen Wignall, PhD, Independent Scholar; all are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care as part of a larger study, the SARS Quarantine Evaluation/Community Transmission Study. Correspondence to Ms. Cava, Toronto Public Health, 277 Victoria Street, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W2. E-mail: mcava@toronto.ca
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  • Heather J. Beanlands,

    1. Maureen A. Cava, RN, MS, Lambda Pi-at-Large, University of Toronto and Manager, Professional Practice, Planning & Policy; Krissa E. Fay, MSW, Research Assistant, both at Toronto Public Health; Heather J. Beanlands, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor; Elizabeth A. McCay, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor, CIHR New Investigator, both at Ryerson University; Rouleen Wignall, PhD, Independent Scholar; all are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care as part of a larger study, the SARS Quarantine Evaluation/Community Transmission Study. Correspondence to Ms. Cava, Toronto Public Health, 277 Victoria Street, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W2. E-mail: mcava@toronto.ca
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  • Elizabeth A. McCay,

    1. Maureen A. Cava, RN, MS, Lambda Pi-at-Large, University of Toronto and Manager, Professional Practice, Planning & Policy; Krissa E. Fay, MSW, Research Assistant, both at Toronto Public Health; Heather J. Beanlands, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor; Elizabeth A. McCay, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor, CIHR New Investigator, both at Ryerson University; Rouleen Wignall, PhD, Independent Scholar; all are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care as part of a larger study, the SARS Quarantine Evaluation/Community Transmission Study. Correspondence to Ms. Cava, Toronto Public Health, 277 Victoria Street, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W2. E-mail: mcava@toronto.ca
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  • Rouleen Wignall

    1. Maureen A. Cava, RN, MS, Lambda Pi-at-Large, University of Toronto and Manager, Professional Practice, Planning & Policy; Krissa E. Fay, MSW, Research Assistant, both at Toronto Public Health; Heather J. Beanlands, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor; Elizabeth A. McCay, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi-at-Large, Associate Professor, CIHR New Investigator, both at Ryerson University; Rouleen Wignall, PhD, Independent Scholar; all are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care as part of a larger study, the SARS Quarantine Evaluation/Community Transmission Study. Correspondence to Ms. Cava, Toronto Public Health, 277 Victoria Street, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W2. E-mail: mcava@toronto.ca
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Abstract

Purpose: To explore the experience of being on quarantine for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) with a focus on the relationship between perceived risk of contracting SARS and reported compliance with the quarantine order and protocols.

Design: Descriptive, qualitative.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people who had been quarantined during the SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003. Data analysis was completed using an iterative and collaborative approach of reading and re-reading the transcribed interviews, identifying common themes, and comparing and contrasting the data.

Findings: To varying extents, participants wavered between fear and denial about their risk of contracting or spreading SARS. Reported compliance with the actual quarantine order was high. However, within households quarantine protocols were followed unevenly.

Conclusions: This research indicates the need for greater credibility in public health communications to increase compliance with quarantine protocols and to contain outbreaks of new and deadly infectious diseases.

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