A Quick Lowdown on SARS
SARS can be found anywhere in the world, even though the particular outbreak mentioned above started in Asia. Anywhere where infected people traveled was a potential outbreak just waiting to happen. Even Toronto, Canada had health travel warnings issued temporarily at one time.
SARS put quite a scare in travelers worldwide a few years back. Known also as severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS attacks the respiratory system and is caused by the corona virus family of microorganisms. This illness began in china in late 2002 and various Asian countries also suffered with outbreaks of the illness.
What was scary was that the World Health Organization (WHO) did not know how it started. However, by the end of that particular outbreak in June 2003 approximately 10% of the people who contracted SARS died. While that is still low odds, it is quite a scary figure. There has not been a major outbreak like that since.
SARS can be found anywhere in the world, even though the particular outbreak mentioned above started in Asia. Anywhere where infected people traveled was a potential outbreak just waiting to happen. Even Toronto, Canada had health travel warnings issued temporarily at one time. The problem with SARS is that it can reappear practically anywhere in the world and scientists have been working hard on ways to lessen the severity of the virus.
The virus that causes SARS can lives for several days on surfaces like telephones, door knobs, shopping carts, bathroom handles, and other common surfaces in public places. That is why SARS in so serious. Infected individuals can easily spread the virus to others via coughing and sneezing. The respiratory droplets can be breathed in by other individuals or touched when they land on surfaces.
SARS symptoms typically present themselves about two days to one week after contact exposure. High fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, general malaise and some difficulty breathing are just a few of the initial symptoms of SARS. There are some reports that diarrhea, coughing, sore throat, runny nose and vomiting or nausea can also occur.
People with compromised immune systems and those with weaker ones like the elderly or infants often develop pneumonia as a result. Some people end up hospitalized because they need help breathing with ventilators and IV solutions. Doctors don't really know how long that people are infections once they are being medically treated. However, the common consensus that once the fever is past and coughing subsides, it is generally safe to go out in public again.
When it comes avoiding SARS, the only thing you can do is practice proper hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water and keep at least three feet away from people who are suspected to have SARS or show SARS-related symptoms. Do not share towels or utensils and wear a mask if a person in your home is infected.
There are no vaccines yet for SARS but scientists and health officials are working on it. Treatment typically consists taking care of the symptoms although some anti-viral drugs are being tested for effectiveness.
The bottom line is that SARS is a tricky disease that can appear practically anywhere in the world. And because it is just as contagious as the common cold, that makes it all the more dangerous.