What Does SARS Stand For?

Learn what SARS stands for, its history, prevention methods, case studies, and statistics. Understand the impact of this viral respiratory illness on global health.


SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which is a viral respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV. The outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003 had a significant impact on the global health community.

What is SARS?

SARS is a highly contagious respiratory illness that originated in China and quickly spread to other countries. It is characterized by flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure.

History of SARS

The first outbreak of SARS occurred in Guangdong, China, in November 2002. The virus spread to other countries through international travel, resulting in a global pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared SARS a global health threat in March 2003.

Prevention and Control

To prevent the spread of SARS, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently and covering coughs and sneezes. In healthcare settings, infection control measures are crucial to prevent the transmission of the virus.

Case Studies

  • In 2003, a healthcare worker in Singapore contracted SARS while treating a patient with the virus. The healthcare worker developed severe respiratory symptoms and had to be hospitalized. This case highlighted the importance of infection control protocols in healthcare settings.
  • In Canada, an outbreak of SARS in Toronto led to the quarantine of thousands of people and the closure of hospitals. The economic impact of the outbreak was significant, with losses estimated at billions of dollars.


During the 2002-2003 outbreak, there were over 8,000 reported cases of SARS worldwide, with a mortality rate of around 10%. The majority of cases occurred in Asia, particularly in China and Hong Kong.

Overall, SARS had a profound impact on public health and the global economy, demonstrating the importance of preparedness and coordination in responding to infectious disease outbreaks.

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