SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

A viral respiratory infection caused by the SARS coronavirus. It is transmitted through close person-to-person contact. It is manifested with high fever, headache, dry cough and myalgias. It may progress to pneumonia and cause death.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About SARS

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV).

SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003. The illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained.

Since 2004, there have not been any known cases of SARS reported anywhere in the world....Read more about SARS CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chinese herbs combined with Western medicine for treating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an acute respiratory disease, characterised by influenza‐like (flu‐like) symptoms, which first appeared in 2002. SARS is a rapidly progressive, acute, community‐acquired respiratory illness, which spreads to all contacts. Integrated Chinese and Western medicines played an important role in the treatment of SARS and this review assessed the effectiveness and safety of this integrated treatment approach. Among 5327 confirmed cases, 3104 patients received traditional Chinese medicine. We explored the role of Chinese herbs in treating SARS to offer an effective method for SARS treatment.

Systematic review and meta-analysis on the integrative traditional Chinese and Western medicine in treating SARS

OBJECTIVE: To systematically evaluate the effects of Chinese herbal medicine in treating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

SARS: systematic review of treatment effects

This review assessed treatment options for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The authors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to determine whether patients with SARS benefit from treatments currently used, and that some treatments might be harmful. The review appeared to be well conducted and the authors' conclusions are likely to be reliable.

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Summaries for consumers

Chinese herbs combined with Western medicine for treating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an acute respiratory disease, characterised by influenza‐like (flu‐like) symptoms, which first appeared in 2002. SARS is a rapidly progressive, acute, community‐acquired respiratory illness, which spreads to all contacts. Integrated Chinese and Western medicines played an important role in the treatment of SARS and this review assessed the effectiveness and safety of this integrated treatment approach. Among 5327 confirmed cases, 3104 patients received traditional Chinese medicine. We explored the role of Chinese herbs in treating SARS to offer an effective method for SARS treatment.

Clothes and equipment for healthcare staff to prevent Ebola and other highly infective diseases

Healthcare staff are at much greater risk of infections such as Ebola Virus Disease or SARS than people in general. One way of preventing infection is to use personal protective equipment, such as protective clothing, gloves, masks, and goggles to prevent contamination of the worker. It is unclear which type of equipment protects best and how it can best be removed after use. It is also unclear what is the best way to train workers to comply with guidance for this equipment.

Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses

Although respiratory viruses usually only cause minor disease, they can cause epidemics. Approximately 10% to 15% of people worldwide contract influenza annually, with attack rates as high as 50% during major epidemics. Global pandemic viral infections have been devastating. In 2003 the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic affected around 8000 people, killed 780 and caused an enormous social and economic crisis. In 2006 a new avian H5N1, and in 2009 a new H1N1 'swine' influenza pandemic threat, caused global anxiety. Single and potentially expensive measures (particularly the use of vaccines or antiviral drugs) may be insufficient to interrupt the spread. Therefore, we searched for evidence for the effectiveness of simple physical barriers (such as handwashing or wearing masks) in reducing the spread of respiratory viruses, including influenza viruses.

More about SARS

Photo of an adult

Also called: SARS-CoV

See Also: Pneumonia, MERS

Other terms to know:
Coronaviruses, Myalgia (Muscle Ache), Respiratory System

Related articles:
Protecting Yourself From Respiratory Infections

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