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Who's at risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) transmitted?

According to the CDC, "cases of SARS continue to be reported primarily among persons who have had direct close contact with an infected person. "Close contact" is defined by "anyone who has cared for, lived with, or had direct contact with

respiratory droplets such as mucous, or body fluids of a patient suspected or known to have SARS."

Based on currently available information, the risk factors are one of more of the following:

  • Close contact within the previous 10 days with a probable case of SARS
  • Recent travel within the previous 10 days to a WHO reported "affected area" in Asia.
  • Recent travel or visit within the previous 10 days to a defined setting that is associated with a cluster of SARS cases (e.g., hospital)
  • Doctors and hospital workers who treated SARS patients before the disease was identified were some of the first SARS casualties. But stringent guidelines - including the use of gowns, gloves, goggles and N95 masks, which block 95 percent of non-oily, solid and liquid particles - are now in place to help protect health care professionals from infection.

    Researchers also have identified a variation in an immune system gene that seems to make people with the variation much more vulnerable to the SARS virus. The genetic variation is common among people of southern Chinese descent but rare in other populations, which may help explain why most SARS cases have occurred in China and Southeast Asia.

    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