Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
DefinitionSevere Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory infection that was first identified in a 2003 outbreak.
|The Respiratory System|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesSARS is caused by a specific group of viruses. The viruses are spread from droplets in the air. The droplets come from spray when a sick person sneezes or coughs. Viruses can also be picked up from objects that an ill person has touched.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of developing SARS include:
- Gene variation in the immune system—This gene variation may be more common in people in Southeast Asia. The variation makes people more susceptible to developing SARS.
- Recent travel to locations in Asia where SARS outbreaks have been reported.
- Close contact with someone who has SARS.
- Healthcare workers who care for patients with SARS.
SymptomsSARS requires care from your doctor. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor right away.SARS may cause:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches and pains
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Malaise (a general feeling of discomfort)
- Muscular stiffness
- Loss of appetite
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Your body fluids and waste products may be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood tests
- Blood culture
- Sputum culture
- Stool tests
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