Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus. Initial symptoms are flu-like and may include fever, myalgia, lethargy symptoms, cough, sore throat, and other nonspecific symptoms. The only symptom common to all patients appears to be a fever above 38 °C (100 °F). SARS may eventually lead to shortness of breath and/or pneumonia, either direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia.
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?
The death rate from SARS was 9 to 12% of those diagnosed. In people over age 65, the death rate was higher than 50%. The illness was milder in younger people.