SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)

Chest | Pulmonology | SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) (Disease)


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. SARS was first reported in Asia in 2003. It spread worldwide over several months before the outbreak ended.

The initial symptoms of SARS are non-specific, complicating the differential diagnosis. The most common symptom in SARS patients is fever with a body temperature of > 38. 0°C (100. 4°F). Fever is therefore a main criteria in the current WHO case definition for suspected or probable SARS. However, fever may be absent during the early stages of the disease and in individuals with co-morbidities who may be impaired in their ability to mount a fever. Fever is mostly associated with other symptoms including chills, rigors, headache, dizziness, malaise, and myalgia.

Causes and Risk factors

Severe acute respiratory syndrome is a respiratory disease in humans which is caused by the SARS coronavirus.

SARS seems to spread mainly by close person-to-person contact. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they send droplets of mucus or saliva that contain the virus through the air. You could get SARS if the droplets land on your mouth, nose or eyes. Kissing, touching, sharing utensils for eating and drinking, or talking with an infected person can also put you at risk. Frequently washing your hands with soap and water might help prevent infection if you travel to countries with SARS.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There is no single test that can be used to diagnose SARS with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Diagnosis, therefore, continues to rely on the clinical examination, supported by case definitions that include a travel history.

Currently, there is no treatment for SARS. Scientists are testing treatments and vaccines. ...