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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Published on May 15, 2020 and last reviewed on Jan 21, 2022   -  5 min read


SARS is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. Read this article to know more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

What Is SARS?

SARS is a severe acute respiratory syndrome. It is caused by the SARS coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV. Coronaviruses cause infections in animals and humans. The SARS outbreak is highly contagious. If it leads to pneumonia, the risk becomes higher. The first case of SARS was reported in February 2003 in Asia. After a few months, the disease spread to places like South America, North America, and Europe. SARS-CoV-2, which is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus that is responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic, is a new strain of coronavirus.

What Is Viral Mutation?

A mutation can be explained as a change in the genetic material or information that is stored. Viruses are organisms that keep changing due to evolution. All the recent outbreaks worldwide have been very life-threatening. The main reason for them is a few viruses and their genetic mutations. Initially, these viruses arise from the animals, and later they are transmitted to humans. Some of the mutated viruses are:

How Is It Transmitted?

What Are the Symptoms of SARS?

The symptoms of SARS include:

If any severe respiratory illness is present, you might need to report to the hospital. Only a few people get diarrhea. But if you get it, the other symptoms can occur fastly. Dry cough can occur within two to five days. In severe cases, the patient might require the help of artificial oxygen.

What Is the Risk for Travelers?

At present, there are no identified cases of transmission. During the 2003 epidemic, the risk for travelers was relatively low. However, travelers should stay safe.

What Are the Complications?

The well-known complications of SARS:

What Are the Risk Factors?

The common risk factors are:

How Is It Diagnosed?

For diagnosis, your doctor will recommend you to perform a few lab tests. X-rays and CT (computed tomography) scans might be required. If you have returned from a foreign trip, consult your doctor, and check for symptoms.

RT-PCR: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction is a test that can identify the virus in stool, blood, and nasal secretions.

SerologicTesting: This test can detect SARS-CoV antibodies if it is present in the blood. If the patient has antibodies, they might possibly have SARS infection.

Culture Testing: This test involves culturing a small sample of fluid or tissue in a container. This testing method may not be reliable if it is used for diagnosis in the early stages of infection.

If there is a new outbreak of SARS, you should inform your doctor whether you are from the outbreak region. Avoid going to public places and maintain proper social distancing. If you are a healthcare professional, you should take additional precaution measures. You should particularly stay away from kids, as they may be affected soon.

What Is the Treatment Option?

What Are the Preventive Measures?

Vaccines for SARS are under intensive research. Till now, studies have been conducted only in animals. Tests are not performed in humans as it is unethical and risky. In order to prevent the recurrence of SARS, follow the safety guidelines.

All precautions should be followed for a minimum of 10 days, even after the symptoms are gone. Keep the children safe at home as the school may be the site of a high risk of infection. Do not allow the kids to play with pets. Always keep an eye on them. Wash the objects used by them with special care. Teach the children proper hygiene techniques.

Are you suffering from any similar illness? Call a doctor online and discuss your problems through voice calls or video calls.

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Last reviewed at:
21 Jan 2022  -  5 min read




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