[Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)].Harefuah. 2003 May; 142(5):322-3, 400.H
On November 2002, 305 cases of atypical pneumonia appeared in southern China. In February 2003, cases were reported in Hong Kong and from there the disease spread to many other countries, mainly, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Toronto in Canada. The syndrome was defined as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS), and a person is suspected of having SARS if he/she became ill after November 1 2002, has a fever exceeding 38 degrees C, has symptoms of a respiratory disease and was in a risk area or in close contact with a SARS patient within ten days prior the appearance of symptoms. The World Health Organization has received reports of 4,836 cases, of which 293 persons have died. Most were family members or medical staff treating the patient, persons who came into close and prolonged contact with the patient. The estimated incubation period is two days to one week. Symptoms of the disease include fever, shortness of breath and cough. Ten percent of patients afflicted with SARS require artificial breathing. The mortality rate is 6-7%. A novel coronavirus is associated with this outbreak, and the evidence indicates that this virus has an etiologic role in SARS. Infection is transmitted from person to person through direct or close contact with airborne droplets or personal objects of an infected person. Patients must be isolated and treated by contact and airborne isolation. Treatment consists of support care and artificial respiration when required. The use of anti-viral medications has not yet proven effective.