Symptoms of SARS

What is SARS?

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a contagious and sometimes fatal viral respiratory illness.

The first case of SARS was reported in late 2002 in China, and it was identified as a new disease in 2003.

The disease was spread by travellers to countries in Europe, Asia and North and South America, causing over 8 000 infections and nearly 800 deaths before it was brought under control in July 2003.

The unexpected emergence and spread of SARS demonstrated how the high mobililty of people in the 21st century can contribute to infections rapidly becoming global problems. SARS has now been completely contained.

The most recent human infections, in Beijing in 2004, were of workers at a laboratory handling the virus.

However, SARS has not been definitively eradicated: it may still exist in animal populations, in which case it might enter the human population again in the future.

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