You are on page 1of 2


A life-threatening viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus known as SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS is associated with a flu-likesyndrome, which may progress intopneumonia, respiratory failure, and sometimes death. The SARS virus is believed to have originated in the Guangdong Province in southern China and has subsequently spread around the world. China and its surrounding countries have witnessed the greatest numbers of SARSrelated cases and death.

SARS Causes
The SARS virus is spread by close person-to-person contact. Transmission may occur by droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Droplet spread can occur when airborne droplets, produced by a cough or sneeze, are deposited on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes of a person up to 3 feet away. The virus can also be spread when a person touches a surface contaminated with the droplets. Oral-fecal transmission of SARS may also occur. Unprotected health care workers were at significant risk of acquiring the infection during the outbreak.

SARS Symptoms
Symptoms of SARS can be similar to those of other viral infections. The first symptoms begin 2-7 days after exposure and may include the following: Fever (temperature of more than 100.4°F) Headache, Fatigue (tiredness), Muscle aches and pain, Malaise (a feeling of general discomfort) , Decreased appetite, Diarrhea, Respiratory symptoms develop 3 or more days after exposure. Respiratory symptoms include the following: -Dry cough -Shortness of breath -Runny nose and sore throat (uncommon) By day 7-10 of the illness, almost all patients with laboratory evidence of SARS infection had pneumonia that could be detected on x-ray films

Exams and Tests
Initial tests for persons thought to have SARS include the following: -Chest x-ray films -Pulse oximetry (a test in which a probe connected to a computer is placed on the finger or ear to measure oxygen saturation in the blood)

. use an alcohol-based hand rub. especially after being in contact with bodily fluids such as respiratory fluids or urine. -Sodium and potassium are sometimes low. The WHO and CDC have established guidelines to help in the prevention and spread of SARS. throw the gloves away immediately and thoroughly wash the hands. Prevention Persons in direct. Wear disposable gloves when in contact with bodily fluids from a person with SARS. Persons with SARS should not go to work. childcare facilities. Persons with confirmed or suspected SARS should be isolated and undergo aggressive treatment in a hospital. school. -Sputum (fluid from the respiratory tract) Gram stains and culture -Urinary antigen testing for Legionella and pneumococcal species (2 causes of bacterial pneumonia) Complications Respiratory failure Liver failure Heart failure Medical Treatment Currently. -Chest x-ray or chest CT scan -Complete blood count (CBC) -White blood cell (WBC) count may be low.-Blood clotting tests -Blood chemistries -ALT and CPK are sometimes elevated. Limit time outside of the home. -Platelet count may be low. sometimes in combination with corticosteroids. Wash hands frequently with soap and hot water. Medications In some of the first cases of SARS. Once it was determined that SARS was a virus. However. Mechanical ventilation (a device that assists in a person's breathing) and critical care may be necessary. or both. After use. close contact with someone who has had SARS are at greatest risk for infection. -LDH levels are often elevated. -Lymphocyte count may be low. the antiviral drug ribavirin was used. or any public place until 10 days after their fever has ended and their respiratory symptoms are improving. information is limitedon whether or not these drugs will decrease the overall disease severity and death from SARS. no specific treatment exists for SARS. although various treatments have been tried with unclear success. antibiotics were used with no success. Persons with SARS or those at risk for SARS should follow the guidelines outlined below.