The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging the public and health workers to observe "respiratory etiquette" to prevent the possible spread of SARS.
"What we're asking ... simply is getting people to cover their nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing," said Linda Chiarello, a CDC epidemiologist. "The implications go well beyond SARS."
She said etiquette tips would be part of upcoming CDC guidelines against SARS. Handwashing is also part of the plan. Hospitals should make hygiene products available to health care workers and patients, and masks should be worn by anyone in the hospital who shows symptoms of respiratory infection, she said.
Though the disease subsided in June, health experts have said it could re-emerge as the weather turns colder.
SARS — severe acute respiratory syndrome — was first recognized in China in November. Nearly 8,100 people developed SARS; 774 have died — none in the United States, the World Health Organization said.