Hospital investigators asking public, healthcare workers to share emotional impact of SARS quarantine through online survey

Toronto (June 8, 2003) - Psychiatry and Infectious Diseases physicians at University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital have launched a unique study to learn more about how people quarantined from SARS were emotionally affected by the experience.

The SARS Quarantine Survey ( is an anonymous computer survey and the team of investigators hopes to find out more about how the isolation experience affected people, their psychology and their relationships with family and friends.

"We hope that people who were quarantined, including healthcare professionals, will participate and share their experiences so we can better respond the next time something like SARS occurs," said Dr. Rima Styra, a Psychiatrist with the University Health Network.

Investigators joining Dr. Styra include Dr. Wayne Gold, an Infection Diseases Specialist with UHN, and Dr. Allison McGeer, Director of Infection Control at Mount Sinai. Also participating are UHN Intensive Care Specialist Dr. Laura Hawryluck and SARS Unit Nurse Manager Sue Robinson.

"We have lots of reason to believe that quarantine can have a significant emotional impact on people," said Dr. Gold. "The stress of being isolated may lead to the development of symptoms including poor sleep, headaches, and fatigue. Besides concerns about their own health, quarantined individuals may have feelings of guilt about possibly transmitting infection to family members. Individuals on quarantine may have also had concerns about job and income loss as well as feelings of anger towards the circumstances that lead to their being quarantined."

The survey is voluntary and anyone who has been quarantined can respond by visiting the site at The survey findings and recommendations will be shared with government, public health and other healthcare institutions.

"This information could help impact future quarantine compliance, emotional stress, and educational intervention," said Dr. Styra.

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