Sars: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Global Health Issue

Topics: Severe acute respiratory syndrome, Epidemiology, Respiratory disease Pages: 5 (1683 words) Published: August 26, 2012
By: Myrtle Howard, RN|


Outbreak Description:
What is SARS? SARS is the acronym for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It is a viral respiratory illness associated with the coronavirus. This virus originated in China back in late year 2002 and early 2003. “SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). This virus spread greatly over a short period of time through several countries causing a massive outbreak and an epidemic uproar. SARS was a fast growing disease. This virus is spread through humans. There were several possible route of transmission such as food, fecal, airborne, but the proven route is droplets. Due to numerous of deaths, this outbreak affected so many lives. Even though there was a massive outbreak internationally, the United States only had a few cases of the outbreak. This virus is still being studied by scientist today. Epidemiological Indicators:

There are several risk factors associated with being exposed to SARS such as hospitals, public transportation, or even malls, any high traffic area. “Air travel as a risk factor was associated with limited number of cases: a total of 29 secondary cases have been linked to probable SARS cases who travelled while symptomatic” (EpiNorth, 2004). Also, being exposed to certain aerosolized respiratory treatments in the hospital qualifies as a high risk transmission as well. Patients with compromised immune system such as HIV/AIDS and cancer patient are at greater risk of being infected by the virus. There is also a risk of being infected when traveling to foreign countries .Poor countries are at an even greater risk due to poor living environment and limited resources. Overall, healthcare workers were greatly affected by SARS due to poor infection control. There were several cases where healthcare workers were infected and remained as inpatients. “The virus initially spread rapidly among hospital staff, patients, visitors, and their close family contacts. Later on, spread of infection between hospitals occurred when patients with underlying disease - which masked the symptoms of SARS - were transferred to other hospitals, placed in rooms with other patients, and managed without adequate protective equipment” (Kamps and Hoffman, 2003). Epidemiological Data:

This respiratory disease mimics the flu and has some of the same signs and symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and a dry cough. There is an incubation period for several days before the infected person start having symptoms. “After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry, nonproductive cough that might be accompanied by or progress to a condition in which the oxygen levels in the blood are low (hypoxia). In 10 percent to 20 percent of cases, patients require mechanical ventilation” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). After being infected with SARS, the person may also develop other respiratory diseases. The risk for death is great. With SARS, you can only treat the symptoms, there is no cure. Route of Transmission:

SARS is spread by close contact through respiratory droplets when a person sneezes or coughs. The virus can also spread from person to person through contaminated surfaces and/or objects. “The main way that SARS seems to spread is by close person-to-person contact. The virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by respiratory droplets (droplet spread) produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus also can spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eye(s)” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).There are several risk factors. For an example,...
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