Signs & Symptoms: This virus causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – a pneumonia with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Spread: Spreads rapidly from person to person by inhaling droplets produced from the cough or sneeze of an infected person
SARS started in China in 2003 and spread to other countries. It is believed that, due to the rapid genetic mutation of the virus, it jumped from infecting animals to infecting humans. The animal that first carried the virus is believed to be the civet cat, which is eaten as food in China.
Who is at risk: Anyone in close contact with an infected person
Prevention: Scientists are working to develop a vaccine to protect humans from the SARS virus. (It is not yet available for use.) Cough and sneeze into fabric or tissues (dispose of properly).