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All about severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) causes of SARS transmission of SARS SARS risk factors symptoms and signs of SARS diagnosis of SARS treatments for SARS prevention of SARS

How is SARS diagnosed?

If a doctor suspects that a person may have SARS, an x-ray of the chest is usually done. Swabs from the person's nose and

throat may be taken to try to identify the virus. Examination of a sample of the person's sputum may be necessary. Blood is tested for SARS infection when the illness is first recognized and again 3 weeks later. If there is difficulty breathing, other blood tests may be needed. Three possible diagnostic tests have emerged, each with drawbacks. The first, an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test detects antibodies to SARS reliably but only 21 days after the onset of symptoms. The second, an immunofluorescence assay, can detect antibodies 10 days after the onset of the disease but is a labour and time intensive test, requiring an immunoflourescence microscope and an experienced operator. The last test is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that can detect genetic material of the SARS virus in specimens ranging from blood, sputum, tissue samples and stool. The PCR tests so far have proven to be very specific but not very sensitive. This means that while a positive PCR test result is strongly indicative that the patient is infected with SARS, a negative test result does not mean that the patient does not have SARS.

More information on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

What is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)? - Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral infection characterized by often high fever, malaise, and a dry cough with dyspnea that can lead to hypoxemia and death.
What causes SARS? - SARS is caused by a new form of the coronavirus never before seen in humans. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have distinctive crown-like spikes.
How is SARS spread? - SARS is mainly spread by close person-to-person contact. After two to seven days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough with most developing pneumonia.
Who's at risk for SARS? - The risk factors for SARS are close contact within the previous 10 days with a probable case of SARS, recent travel within the previous 10 days to a reported affected area.
What are the symptoms and signs of SARS? - The main symptoms of SARS are high fever, combined with a dry cough, shortness of breath, or breathing difficulties.
How is SARS diagnosed? - Blood is tested for SARS infection when the illness is first recognized and again 3 weeks later. Three possible diagnostic tests have emerged.
What are the treatment options for SARS? - There is no proven effective treatment for SARS. There have been different treatment approaches used throughout the affected countries.
How to prevent SARS? - The WHO and the CDC have established a number of guidelines aimed at stopping transmission of the disease.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005