SARS

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a contagious viral respiratory infection that is caused by a strain of coronavirus called as (SARS CoV) and gradually leads to a fatal form of pneumonia. SARS was first identified in southern part of China in February 2003 and within short period of time, the infection had began to spread rapidly all over the world.
 

SARS is a contagious disease which spreads easily from one person to other via direct or indirect contact (eyes, mouth and nose). People who have been infected with SARS become ill within a week after exposure.
 

Symptoms

High Fever is the most common symptom of SARS. Patient with SARS infection experience flu-like symptoms within few days after the exposure. Symptoms include:-
 

  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Shivering
  • Muscle Aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Short breath
  • Loss of appetite

In advanced stage, most of the patients may lead to fatal form of pneumonia. If it is not treated well, the patient may fall into severe illness which increases the risk of death.

Causes

Strain of Coronavirus is responsible for SARS infection, the same family of viruses that causes flu-like illness. In the period of 2003-2004, the disease had begun to spread rapidly from China to all other countries such as North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. SARS infection is transmitted from one person to other through droplets of respiratory organs such as nose, mouth and eyes. When a sick person sneezes and coughs, the fluids may deposit on the mucous membranes of nearby person through air or close contact. Coronavirus may live for a long time (weeks to months) on the surface of the objects when the temperature is in freezing condition.

Diagnosis

Consult your healthcare provider, if you experience the above mentioned symptoms. Doctor examines your lungs sound with the help of stethoscope and he may suggest you the following tests to diagnose SARS infection:

  • Arterial blood tests
  • Blood clotting tests
  • Blood chemistry tests
  • Chest x-ray or chest CT scan
  • Complete blood count (CBC)

To identify the virus quickly, doctor may suggests patient to undergo the below tests for accurate results.

  • Antibody tests for SARS
  • Direct isolation of the SARS virus
  • Rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test

Treatment

Medical help is required to treat SARS infection. If patient falls under severe symptoms, he/she need to admit in hospital immediately for better treatment. Treatment may vary from patient to patient, as it depends on various factors which include patient age, symptoms, stage and physical condition. Following methods are used to treat SARS infected patient. This includes,

  • Antibiotics are used to treat bacteria that cause pneumonia condition.
  • To reduce swelling in the lungs, steroids are given for a patient.
  • In severe cases, mechanical ventilation and chest therapy are provided to a patient.

Prevention

Following precautions may help you to prevent SARS infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand sanitizer to avoid germs.
  • Try to avoid direct or indirect contact with a SARS infected person.
  • Keep your surrounding clean and clutter free to avoid SARS virus.