The global epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 demonstrated the need to determine control strategies for exotic infections. The prior determination of such strategies, and the use of mathematical models to assist this, is hampered by the obvious lack of data. We propose an integral equation model of Kermack–McKendrick type that may be used to compare strategies based on the isolation of infectious individuals. The model structures the incidence of infection according to the location of an infected individual at exposure, and requires knowledge of the infectivity kernel and the initial rate of exponential increase of cases. The model's use in the design of strategies to minimize the risk of SARS in a previously unexposed community is demonstrated.