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Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Oct;32(10):779-83.

SARS: a new infectious disease for a new century.

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Carindale Medical Clinic, Brisbane, Queensland.



A new infectious disease swept the world in early 2003, causing restrictions on international travel and economic downturn in affected countries.


This article aims to provide an overview of the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).


SARS is caused by a new coronavirus thought to be of animal origin. The virus induces symptoms of atypical pneumonia, clinically indistinguishable from similar syndromes. The severity is such that a 15% mortality rate has been reported. No treatment has yet been identified as reliably successful. Transmission is by droplet spread, requiring close contact. Stringent infection control precautions in health care institutions, broad isolation measures in affected communities and international surveillance with barrier restrictions to travel have led to termination of the epidemic. As of July 11, 2003, 8437 people in 32 countries have been affected, with 813 deaths reported.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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