Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (cont.)
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) facts
- What is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)?
- What causes SARS? How is SARS transmitted?
- What are risk factors for SARS?
- What are SARS symptoms and signs?
- How is SARS diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for SARS?
- What is the prognosis of SARS?
- Can SARS be prevented?
- Where can people get more information about SARS?
What are risk factors for SARS?
SARS-CoV can infect a person regardless of their health status or age group. However, it was clear that some people were at increased risk during the 2002 outbreak. This included people over the age of 50 (some reported mortality rates of about 50%), pregnant women, and those with underlying diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease. A major risk factor is simply a close association with any person infected with SARS-CoV since the virus is easily spread through droplets spewed into the air.
What are SARS symptoms and signs?
Symptoms begin two to 14 days after acquiring the virus. Initially, the illness resembles influenza with fever and a mild cough. The breathing disorder often progresses to severe shortness of breath (dyspnea) and inability to maintain oxygenation (hypoxia). Progression may be rapid or it may take several days. Severely affected people develop a potentially fatal form of respiratory failure, known as adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARD or ARDS). In addition to the attacking the alveoli in the lungs, the virus also infects other organs in the body, causing reduced white blood cell counts (lymphopenia), inflammation of the arteries (vasculitis), and inflammation of the gut with diarrhea.
Next: How is SARS diagnosed?
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