Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory disease caused by zoonotic virus in human beings. This is a communicable disease and was first reported a decade ago. This can also spread like an epidemic, before it is discovered in a person. Till now there is no effective vaccine developed for this killer disease and there is only observational treatment prescribed for the SARS-CoV affected patients. It may cause death if not treated in the initial stage. This is most prominent in the South East Asian countries. Its symptoms are myalgia, sore throat, fever and shortness of breath. SARS may break out like an epidemic and cause death in infected patients.

Spread and Symptoms

The SARS-CoV or the SARS corona virus was first transmitted by mammals found in China. This was spread to humans via fluids or by air. These viruses have the tendency to live for 4 hours to 2 months when transmitted to other bodies. Initially it was believed that it was zoonotic and the cause was animal excretes, since these virus was able to survive for more than 2 months in stools. Once the virus enters human body, the disease spreads very fast and affects others through sneezing, cough and by body fluids. Sneezing is considered to be more dangerous, since the water drops sprayed out from a person mouth travels at a speed of 40 km/hr and soon contaminate the surrounding air particles. When these droplets are breathed in by a normal person he may show the signs of SARS within 2 days or by a week’s time. The smell of stool emitting out by air can also cause this disease, as the disease is air borne. Having close contact or living in the same area of the infected person also causes the infection by air or via body fluids of the infected person.  Its signs and symptoms can be initially seen by 2-7 days of time. These are accompanied by cough, myalgia, sore throat, lethargy, diarrhea along with flu like fever with more than 100.4°F body temperate. In later stage, it causes shortness of breath finally leading to pneumonia.

Prevention and Cure

SARS infection can be prevented only by using protective cloths and gears. It is advisable to wear full sleeves shirts and full pants when moving in public places and use face mask too. Whenever residing in such epidemic areas always take hot water bath. It is advisable to mix germ killer solution in the hot water. This will wash away the virus content present in the fluid form. When such infection is found, it is better to be in isolation and the person taking care of the patient must wear protective gears while attending the patient. The infected person must not roam around or go to work place or school till he/she gets well. The pre or in advance immunization by pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations can slightly protect us from getting infected.  The cure for SARS is only done by the supportive methods, since there are no effective vaccines developed to treat the SARS. The Antipyretics is the only treatment provided with acute care in isolation. Here the patients are kept on ventilators to support breathing. Antibiotic drugs are used when an infected person has reached the pneumonia stage. Steroids are used if the infected person is suffering from lung swelling.

Research and Development

SARS is a recently born epidemic in this century and it is a huge task for the virologist, chemists and physicians to find a permanent solution for this killer disease. Many developed and underdeveloped countries in coordination with various health organizations are engaged in studying and examining supportive data and other records. Such joint efforts help to expedite the process of research. Many animal trials are going on, but till now no effective vaccine is developed anywhere in the world to treat SARS. There are also other developmental activities conducted by the W.H.O. along with many governmental and nongovernmental health bodies. They are engaged in generating awareness and teaching preventive methods. These awareness programs are carried out independently from other research activities. The CDC is presented with all the information about the new case studies. Many research findings are filed with the FDA, also. Yet, so far no vaccines or cure are found for the SARS outbreaks.

History of SARS

The first report on SARS was found in two Guangdong farmers of China in 2002. These two framers died while undergoing treatment. This was the first case detected among the Chinese population. Proper study was not carried out by the Chinese medical authorities to find out the cause of death. But the outbreak was spreading like anything. In 2003, China officially declared it as a deadly epidemic. Here W.H.O. was most concerned to stop further spreading from China. But, this was not possible due to large number of travelers visiting China. Similarly an American business man was found sick in plane while he was travelling from China to Vietnam. When the businessman was taken to a hospital, he died very soon. The doctor who treated this patient was also infected and died soon. Now, it became clear that it was a vigorously communicable disease. Many tourists and business travelers coming from China were scanned before entering their mother country. The tourists and other business travelers stopped visiting China due to the fear of SARS disease.


SARS is a preventable disease if you take acute care of yourself. Make sure not to get infected by this deadly virus. This is a contagious disease and whenever an epidemic breaks out, it is advisable to live away from the region. Be away from the patient and take care of the patient by wearing protective gears. Never kiss or have sex with the infected person. Since 2002 there were 9000 infected people reported in China and 1000 were dead due to this epidemic. By 2003 this virus spread through human contacts alone in 37 countries of this world. The W.H.O was one of the leading organizations who took preventive measure to stop further spread of this deadly disease. SARS is prominent in south East Asia, North America and few parts of Northern Europe. SARS free regions are African continent, Australia, Middle East, Russia and South America.