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What is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)?

Currently, the source virus of SARS is not yet clear. The plague broke out in some areas of China early in 2003. Related to common cold, it is likely spread by spit emitted from sneezing and coughing. With symptoms similar to that of pneumonia, it mostly spreads in families and hospitals with such patients.

What are the clinical symptoms of SARS? Whatís the difference between SARS and flu?

The main clinical symptoms are fever, headache, weakness, dry cough, breathing difficulties in some cases, and respiratory depression syndrome in a small number of cases. In the early period, the patientís WBC level is normal or low while an X-ray test indicating pneumonia characteristics. Flu brings fever, coughing, and headache that can be cured in a couple of days with no symptoms of pneumonia.

How long is the SARS incubation period?

It could be from two to 12 days, but four or five days in most cases.

What is the infective channel of SARS?

For the unclear virus source, we only know that it is easy to get infected through secretion from respiratory organs and intimate contact. All people are vulnerable, with medical persons having higher risk.

What should I do if I have fever and cough?

See your doctor as early as possible and follow the doctorís suggestions. If necessary, you should be hospitalized for further observation.

Is X-ray a must for SARS diagnosis?

A suspected SARS case should be delivered to a hospital for confirmation; X-ray test can help.

Is there any measures to treat SARS?

So far, no exclusive medicine or treatment for the disease has been found, but most patients can recover by taking supportive and appropriate medical treatments in time.

Is there any vaccine for SARS?


What kind of precautions can ordinary citizens take to prevent the disease?

Everybody should live a healthy and hygienic life. Do as follows:

Wash your hands after sneezing and cough.

Use clean towels and paper to dry your hands.

Never use shared towels.

Balance your diet, wear proper clothes according to climate change, do exercises regularly and have enough rest.

Reduce your pressure and quit smoking.

Open your doors and windows frequently to make let fresh air flow in.

Clean the dust net and make sure your air conditioner is under sound operation.

Avoid going to crowded public places.

What shall I do if a family member or friend has been proven infected with the disease?

The patient should wear a mask, so should you and others around while visiting or taking care of him or her. You should take more attention of your health and go to see a doctor as soon as possible when any symptom occurs.

*Source material from Ministry of Health.

(China.org.cn April 9, 2003)

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