Definition of Severe acute respiratory syndrome

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (also called SARS): is an infection caused by a virus. It causes fever, cough, and other symptoms. SARS can also cause serious lung problems and even death. There were outbreaks of SARS in 2003 and 2004, mostly in China and other countries in Asia. At first, the symptoms of SARS include: fever higher often with chills; feeling like flu; headache; muscle aches. The first SARS symptoms usually last 3 to 7 days. After that, symptoms include: dry cough; shortness of breath; chest pain when coughing or breathing; diarrhea; sore throat; runny nose. A specific blood test for SARS does not exist.

Most people who get SARS need to go to the hospital and it can be fatal. Currently there are no specific anti-viral medications that are effective against SARS. See your doctor or nurse right away if there is an outbreak of SARS and you have symptoms of the infection.


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