Severe acute respiratory syndrome
(SARS) is a life-threatening viral respiratory disease caused by the SARS
coronavirus (SARS-CoV). It is also considered as a serious form of pneumonia.
When someone with SARS coughs or
sneezes, infected droplets spray into the air. People can catch the SARS virus
if breathe in or touch these particles. The SARS virus may live on hands,
tissues, and other surfaces for up to 6 hours in these droplets and up to 3
hours after the droplets have dried.
Droplets of an infected person can
easily reach the air and the virus stay 3 to 6 hours in surrounding surfaces.
Suspected cases of SARS must be immediately isolated as long as it is highly
SARS is sometimes misdiagnosed
because it looks like cold or influenza in the first stage. Respiratory symptoms
develop three or more days after exposure.
The fever is usually above 38 °C
(100 °F). After 2 to 7 days, may appear a dry cough but in a few cases it
produces phlegm (sputum). Most patients develop pneumonia.