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How is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) transmitted?

SARS is mainly spread by close person-to-person contact. The virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by being within 3 feet of respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes and/or by touching a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets. Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person known to have SARS or having direct contact with secretions and/or body fluids of a patient known to have SARS. Potential ways in which SARS can spread include touching the skin of other people or objects that are contaminated with infectious droplets and then touching your eye(s), nose, or mouth. This can happen when someone who is sick with SARS coughs or sneezes droplets onto themselves, other people, or nearby surfaces. Close contact does not include walking near a person or sitting across a waiting room or office for a brief time. The chances that SARS-infected people could be "asymptomatic," meaning that carriers could be infectious without developing any of the tell-tale signs and hence move around within a population undetected, are small.

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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