SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome]

Paul G. Auwaerter, M.D., Trish Perl, M.D.
SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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  • SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Respiratory pathogen with spread by airborne droplet transmission.
    • RNA enveloped virus; note that the coronavirus causing SARS is a separate group than those previously reported to cause human or animal illness.
    • First reported in SE Asia February 2003. Last known human case in China, April 2004.
    • Declared a select agent by CDC (2012, select agent is a bacterium, virus or toxin that has the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety).
  • Although Coronavirus and metapneumovirus and other bacterial and viral (influenza) pathogens have also been co-isolated from patients, SARS-CoV is considered the causative agent.
  • Animal reservoir initially thought to be the civet cat, latest information suggests the Horseshoe bat implicated in transmitting this infection to humans.

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Last updated: June 7, 2017