Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Overview

Another name for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is SARS.

What is SARS?
A person with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has a severe lung infection, caused by a rare type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are responsible for the common cold. Usually, SARS causes symptoms similar to influenza. In some cases, the condition can progress to respiratory distress or respiratory failure. Since 2004, there have been no additional reported cases of SARS.

What are the symptoms of SARS?
Initial symptoms of SARS include dry cough, body aches, fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, and fatigue. Symptoms of worsening SARS include a worsening cough, chest congestion, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

How does the doctor treat SARS?
Treatment for SARS may include bronchodilator medications, cough suppressant medications, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever. Treatment for worsening SARS may include antiviral medications, oxygen therapy, and a ventilator to support breathing.

Continue to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome References
  1. Bell DM; World Health Organization Working Group on International and Community Transmission of SARS. Public health interventions and SARS spread, 2003. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Nov;10(11):1900-6. [15550198]
  2. Chang SM, Liu CL, Kuo HT, Chen PJ, Lee CM, Lin FJ, Lin CC, Lee CH, Lu YT. Comparative study of patients with and without SARS who fulfilled the WHO SARS case definition. J Emerg Med. 2005 May;28(4):395-402. [15837019]
  3. Jiang S, He Y, Liu S. SARS vaccine development. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Jul;11(7):1016-20. [16022774]
  4. Leung CW, Chiu WK. Clinical picture, diagnosis, treatment and outcome of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in children. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2004 Dec;5(4):275-88. [15531251]
  5. Skowronski DM, Astell C, Brunham RC, Low DE, Petric M, Roper RL, Talbot PJ, Tam T, Babiuk L. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS): a year in review. Annu Rev Med. 2005;56:357-81. [15660517]
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