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Basic Information About SARS

What Is SARS?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
is investigating a new disease called Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The disease was first
reported among people in Guangdong Province (China),
Hanoi (Vietnam), and Hong Kong (Special Administrative
Region of China). It has since appeared in Singapore,
Europe and North America. This fact sheet provides
basic information about the disease.

Symptoms of SARS

The symptoms of SARS are similar to the flu. In general,
SARS begins with a fever greater than 100.4F [>38.0C].
Some people also experience mild respiratory symptoms.
After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough
and have trouble breathing. Not all SARS patients are
sick enough to be hospitalized. If a person with
suspected SARS is treated and sent home, precautions
should be taken to avoid contact with others.

Because the exact cause is not known, there is no
specific treatment besides isolating a patient with
suspected SARS, and using facemasks and disposable
gloves. Frequent hand washing also is recommended.

How SARS Spreads
Public health experts think that SARS is spread by
close contact between people. SARS is most likely
spread when someone sick with the disease coughs
or sneezes droplets into the air and someone else
breathes them in.

Who is at Risk for SARS

Cases of SARS continue to be reported mainly among
people who have traveled recently to particular
Asian countries, those who have had direct close
contact with an infected person, and health-care
workers who did not use infection control
procedures while taking care of a SARS patient.

1) Have traveled in the last 10 days to one of
the following countries: China; Hanoi, Vietnam;
or Singapore,


2) You are showing these symptoms:

Fever above 100.4

Trouble breathing

Dry cough

Have had close contact with someone who fits this

Please see your physician before you return to work.

Explain your symptoms and tell your health care provider
of your recent travel or exposure.

To avoid exposing others, call before you go to a
clinic or doctor's office.

For the Most Updated Information
Visit these SARS websites:

Centers for Disease Control:

World Health Organization:

Information provided by County Administrator's Office, Risk Management Unit

Adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

FACT SHEET dated April 7, 2003