Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a highly contagious viral respiratory illness that emerged in 2002, causing a global outbreak. It is caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and primarily affects the respiratory system, leading to severe respiratory distress and potential organ failure. The outbreak initially started in Guangdong, China, and rapidly spread to multiple countries, eventually being declared a global health threat.


Symptoms of SARS typically include fever, chills, body aches, headache, cough, and difficulty breathing. Some individuals may also experience diarrhea, sore throat, and other flu-like symptoms. The severity of symptoms can vary, ranging from mild to severe, with severe cases often requiring hospitalization and intensive care.


SARS is primarily transmitted through close contact with infected individuals. This can occur through respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, as well as through direct physical contact. The virus can also survive on surfaces for a limited period, allowing indirect transmission via contaminated objects.

Prevention and Control

Prevention and control measures for SARS include regular handwashing with soap and water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, and practicing respiratory hygiene, such as covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Isolation of infected patients and implementation of appropriate infection control measures in healthcare settings are crucial for limiting the spread of the disease.


There is currently no specific antiviral treatment for SARS. Supportive care is primarily provided to manage symptoms and complications. This may include adequate fluid intake, supplemental oxygen, and, in severe cases, mechanical ventilation to assist with breathing. Early detection, prompt medical attention, and appropriate isolation measures are essential for improving outcomes and reducing transmission in affected individuals.