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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is SARS?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an infectious viral disease that spreads mainly through sneezes and coughs and infects the respiratory tract.
What are the symptoms of SARS?
Symptoms of SARS resemble those of the flu: fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, discomfort (malaise), headache, chills, dizziness, stiff muscles, diarrhoea (in 10-20% of people), loss of appetite and a runny nose.
Who gets SARS?
Anyone can catch SARS if exposed to an infected person. There have been no cases of SARS since 2004.
How is SARS diagnosed?
Because SARS has similar symptoms to other viral diseases, it is not easy to diagnose. Diagnosis is done via laboratory tests checking for the presence of the virus in the throat, blood or faeces. A chest X-ray may also be taken.
How is SARS treated?
There is no specific treatment for SARS. A person suspected of being infected will be quarantined to prevent further spread and can receive supportive treatment if necessary, which may include breathing support (a ventilator), antiviral medication, antibiotic …
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 03 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 18 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 611 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: The flu (influenza)