Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) | American Lung Association

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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an infectious condition that can cause serious respiratory illness or death. An outbreak of SARS occurred in 2003 and started in China but progressed worldwide before it was contained. There have been no cases of SARS anywhere in the world since 2004.  

Learn About Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

SARS is caused by a coronavirus, the family of viruses that causes the common cold SARS is a rapidly progressive respiratory illness that is spread from person to person.

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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

SARS is caused by a coronavirus, the family of viruses that causes the common cold. SARS starts with symptoms that are similar to the flu, but usually get worse over a few days. Seventy percent of patients with SARS develop a serious respiratory illness.

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Diagnosing and Treating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

There are specific guidelines for when your doctor should suspect a case of SARS, including certain lab tests. Currently, there is no specific medication that can treat SARS.

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Recovering from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Most people who get SARS will fully recover. However, they can expect to be hospitalized and isolated from other people to prevent the spread of the virus.

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Preventing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Preventing SARS is similar to preventing any viral respiratory infection, which includes avoiding close contact with affected individuals. Because patients with SARS are usually hospitalized, strict measures are needed to prevent spread of infection to visitors, other patients and hospital staff.

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This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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