Just The Facts

What It Is

SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is a respiratory illness that primarily affects the lungs but may also involve the digestive tract.

The Symptoms

In the first phase, patients get a fever of 100.4°F or more, with chills, headache and muscle aches. Within a week, most develop a dry cough and difficulty in breathing; about 10% to 20% require a ventilator. Some also get severe diarrhea.

The Cause

Scientists have identified a previously unknown virus in the coronavirus family as the primary cause of SARS. Coronaviruses often infect animals and until now caused only mild illness in people. It...

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