Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a serious form of pneumonia. It is caused by a virus that was first identified in 2003. Infection with the SARS virus causes acute respiratory distress (severe breathing difficulty) and sometimes death.
SARS has flu-like symptoms that usually begin two to seven days after infection. In some cases, the incubation period can be up to 10 days.
The symptoms of SARS include:
a high temperature (fever) over 38C (100.4F)
fatigue (extreme tiredness)
loss of appetite
HOW IS SARS DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of SARS is based on the symptoms and laboratory tests. The pulmonologist may listen to your chest and check for abnormal sounds. A chest X-ray may reveal a condition similar to pneumonia Other tests are blood clotting tests, blood chemistry tests, complete blood count, arterial blood tests, antibody tests for SARS and rapid polymerase chain reaction for SARS virus.
HOW IS SARS TREATED?
Isolation of the patient and treatment with antibiotics and antiviral medications are used to treat SARS. Breathing support and steroids might be advised to patients.
DID YOU KNOW?
No known transmission of SARS has been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.