Author Topic: What is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)?  (Read 163 times)

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Offline ruben

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What is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)?
« on: February 17, 2009, 05:08:15 PM »
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) - a contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness - first appeared in China in November 2002. SARS is a severe form of pneumonia, where infected individuals develop a fever, followed by respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. In some cases, the respiratory symptoms become increasingly severe, and people require oxygen support and mechanical ventilation. It is not to be confused with the common cold.
The Human Respiratory System

The illness usually begins with a high fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F). The fever is sometimes associated with chills or other symptoms, including a headache, a general feeling of discomfort, and body aches. Some people also experience mild respiratory symptoms at the outset. Approximately 10-20 percent of patients have diarrhea. After two to seven days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough with most developing pneumonia. SARS appears to be caused by a new type of coronavirus. Other coronaviruses cause common colds or infect various animals. Transmission of SARS occurs through face-to-face personal contacts, such as health care workers; family members; and people in nearby seats on airplanes or beds in hospitals. Because other infections transmitted in a similar fashion are spread by contact with secretions from the respiratory tract (such as the lungs or possibly the nose or throat), SARS probably spreads in the same way. A person becomes infected when his hands touch secretions from a person who is infected and he then touches his nose, mouth, or eyes, or when he inhales such secretions. However, some people who have developed SARS may not have had face-to-face contact, and many people who have face-to-face contact with people infected with SARS do not catch the illness. The virus is also in stool, and some people appear to have been infected after coming into contact with water supplies contaminated with sewage

SARS is mainly spread by close person-to-person contact. The virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by being within 3 feet of respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes and/or by touching a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets. Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person known to have SARS or having direct contact with secretions and/or body fluids of a patient known to have SARS. Examples include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation (within three feet) or physical contact. Close contact does not include walking near a person or sitting across a waiting room or office for a brief time.

What are the treatments for severe acute respiratory syndrome

Doctors may tried treating SARS with antiviral drugs, including oseltamivir and ribavirin, and corticosteroids. However, there is no evidence that these or any other drugs are effective. The virus eventually disappears. People with mild symptoms need no specific treatment. Those with moderate difficulty breathing may need to receive oxygen by plastic nasal prongs or a face mask. Those with severe difficulty breathing may need mechanical ventilation to aid breathing. Research now is focused on developing a test for rapid diagnosis, effective therapies, and a preventive vaccine

How to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)?

The WHO and the CDC have established a number of guidelines aimed at stopping transmission of the mouth with unclean hands. Frequent hand washing with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based hand rub. Encourage people around you to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Wearing a mask is not recommended except for those who are in close contact with someone who may have SARS. People exposed to others who may have SARS (for example, family members, airline personnel, and health care workers) should be alert for symptoms of illness. If they have no symptoms, they may attend work, school, and other activities as usual. If they develop fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, cough, or difficulty breathing, they should avoid face-to-face contact with other people and seek medical attention. Use a household disinfectant to clean any surfaces that may have been contaminated with sweat, saliva or mucus, or even vomit, stool or urine. Wear disposable gloves while you clean and throw the gloves away when you're done. Keep children home from school if they develop a fever or respiratory symptoms within 10 days of being exposed to someone with SARS. They can return if symptoms ease after three days. Children who have been exposed but don't have symptoms can attend school, but watch their health

« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 06:06:44 PM by ruben »

What is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)?
« on: February 17, 2009, 05:08:15 PM »
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