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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

  • By: J. J. McIntyre
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral infection that first appeared in Guangdong Province, China, in November 2002. The Chinese government was globally criticized for not informing the World Health Organization (WHO) of the outbreak in a timely manner despite many information requests, and by the end of May 2003, SARS spread to 32 countries and regions throughout the world. SARS infected over 8,000 people and claimed 774 lives. The virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets and close contact with infected persons, and has no known vaccine or treatment. SARS is particularly frightening because it is socially communicated through the air, and symptoms are flulike and common. The nature of the SARS virus left international public health authorities to deal with the rapid ...

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