A newly identified acute respiratory syndrome caused by a new virus, the SARS
coronavirus, which is believed to recently have crossed the species barrier from
animals to humans.
Signs and symptoms are similar to flu at the outset but progress to
pneumonia-like symptoms. Whilst most infected patients have recovered, the lack
of specific treatment options has resulted in mortalities.
When SARS spreads, it is mostly through breathing in droplets transported
through the air when someone with SARS coughs or sneezes.
The first known cases of SARS occured in China in November 2002 and then the
epidemic spread to many other countries. In July 2003, the last human chain of
SARS transmission was broken.