Taiwan, Singapore and Toronto, Canada, are listed as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) affected areas with "medium" local transmission in the World Health Organization's (WHO's) latest report released on Friday.
The WHO as of Friday began listing SARS affected areas with local transmission in four categories -- low, medium, high and uncertain. Countries listed as SARS affected areas with local transmission are those in which at least one local transmission has occurred within the last 20 days regardless of the setting in which it may have occurred.
"Low" means imported probable SARS cases have produced only one generation of local probable cases, all of which are the result of direct personal contact with the imported cases.
"Medium" means more than one generation of local probable SARS cases, but only among persons that have been identified and followed-up as known contacts of probable SARS cases.
"High" means a high transmission pattern other than that described in either of the above two categories.
"Uncertain" indicates insufficient information available to specify areas or extent of local transmission.
According to the WHO's new classification system, Beijing, Guangdong, Shanxi and Hong Kong are listed as "high" transmission areas, while Ulan Bator, Mongolia is listed as "low, " and Tianjin and Inner Mongolia are listed as "uncertain."
The WHO's latest tallies also showed that there have been more than 6,000 SARS cases reported around the world to date, with 417 deaths. Mainland China remains the most seriously affected SARS area with more than 3,800 cases reported and 181 deaths.