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Home > Manufacturers > Raytek® Infrared Thermometers > SARS & Raytek® Products

SARS & Raytek® Products Please Carefully read the Manufacturer Comments below:

By now, you are undoubtedly aware of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the concern it is causing worldwide. You may equally be aware that one of the first symptoms is a low fever (38° C/100.4° F).

It has come to Raytek’s attention that many people, including health care providers and public officials all over the world, are now using, or considering the use of, Raytek devices to pre-screen people in hospitals, airports, and other public places for signs of fever that may be associated with SARS. There is now a frenzy of information—and misinformation—being disseminated with regard to the role of noncontact infrared thermometry in the detection of SARS. In order to clarify this rapidly evolving issue, we have assembled a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding SARS and noncontact infrared thermometry. We will add to it as necessary, and hope you find it useful.


Q: What is SARS?
A: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, is an atypical pneumonia that has recently been reported in Asia, North America, and Europe. One of the first symptoms of SARS is a fever of approximately 38°C/100.4°F. For more information, see the following Web sites:

Q: Are noncontact infrared thermometers being used to screen for symptoms of SARS?
A: Yes, although we are not advocating this use for our products, since they have been designed for industrial, rather than medical, use. Because one of the first symptoms of SARS is a low fever, some health providers and public officials are using noncontact infrared thermometry in places such as hospitals and airports as rapid screening devices. People who register higher temperatures than normal are generally isolated for further evaluation, so as to prevent the spread of disease.

If Raytek products are used in medical pre-screening applications, final temperature determination and diagnosis should be made by qualified medical staff using the proper medical instruments.

Q: Are any Raytek infrared thermometers designed to measure the temperature of the human body?
A: No.

Q: Why would health care professionals use Raytek’s infrared thermometers instead of traditional thermometers to screen for fevers?
A: There are two main advantages that Raytek products have over traditional medical thermometers, making them an attractive “first line of defense”:

  1. They do not involve any contact with the surfaces they measure, so the thermometer doesn’t actually touch the subject it’s reading, unlike oral or infrared ear thermometers.
  2. They display temperature readings immediately, as opposed to oral thermometers which take up to 30 seconds to display final measured temperature.
    However, there are also two very significant disadvantages to consider:
  • Noncontact infrared thermometers measure surface temperature—not body temperature. While there are currently studies underway investigating the correlation, if any, between surface temperature of a human and the traditional “under-the-tongue” temperatures measured by oral thermometers, there is not yet any conclusive evidence that one is a consistent, reliable indicator of the other.
  • Raytek products are designed for industrial use—not medical use. Raytek does not currently manufacture any product certified as a medical instrument, nor do we represent our products as suitable for medical applications.

Q: Are any of Raytek’s products designed specifically for medical use?
A: No. All of Raytek’s current products are designed for industrial use. Specific applications include HVAC and plant maintenance, automotive diagnostics, and food safety. Customers should review Raytek product specifications, which are readily available on our website (, from most Raytek dealers, and from Raytek Customer Service.

Q: Are any of Raytek’s products currently being used for medical purposes?
A: Although Raytek does not currently design any of its products for medical applications, we cannot control what our customers ultimately use our products for. We are aware of a few physicians who use our products in their practices, and others who are studying the viability of using our products in specific medical applications.

Q: Since it’s clear that some doctors and health officials are using Raytek products for health care, why doesn’t Raytek market directly to this audience?
A: Raytek products are specifically designed and tested for industrial use, rather than medical use. Medical devices must go through very rigorous, application-specific testing and certification. No Raytek products have undergone such testing, and none carry medical certification.

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