An article in the April 25, 2003issue of London's Independent newspaper proclaimed, "A hospital in China is surrounded by police, officials in Toronto meet in emergency session and airline chiefs discuss the billion-dollar losses from the collapse of international travel - welcome to the first global epidemic of the 21st century.

"Panic was spreading as fast as the virus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) as governments and health authorities around the world struggled yesterday to contain public anxiety over a disease that has so far killed 264 people and infected thousands more."

(http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_medical/story.jsp?story=400145)