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The Respiratory System  
BQ00013_97870_1

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Definition  

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory infection that was first identified in a 2003 outbreak.

The Respiratory System  
BQ00013_97870_1

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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Causes  

SARS is caused by a specific group of viruses. The viruses are spread from droplets in the air. The droplets come from spray when a sick person sneezes or coughs. Viruses can also be picked up from objects that an ill person has touched.

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Risk Factors  

Factors that may increase your chance of developing SARS include:

  • Gene variation in the immune system—This gene variation may be more common in people in Southeast Asia. The variation makes people more susceptible to developing SARS.
  • Recent travel to locations in Asia where SARS outbreaks have been reported.
  • Close contact with someone who has SARS.
  • Healthcare workers who care for patients with SARS.
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Symptoms  

SARS requires care from your doctor. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor right away.

SARS may cause:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Body aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Malaise (a general feeling of discomfort)
  • Muscular stiffness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • Rash