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South Carolina Health Alert Network

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

1. General information
SARS is a newly recognized and sometimes fatal respiratory infection. Current information suggests that SARS is caused by a virus in the Coronavirus family and that the disease originated in late 2002 and early 2003 in Southern China. Cases have now been reported from many countries around the world.

2. Basic SARS references
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (www.cdc.gov) maintains a web page devoted exclusively to SARS (www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars) which includes excellent technical documents about the disease. Links are provided below to ten of these documents, selected from the several dozen available, as useful for persons, including health care professionals, looking for a rapid basic orientation to SARS.

Information for the General Public
Information for Health Professionals

3. Flow chart for management of contacts to cases of SARS
Several of the CDC guidelines include a 1-page flow chart which contains a step-by-step guide to management of persons who have been exposed to persons with SARS. The chart includes useful short definitions of "exposure" and "isolation precautions", though the full CDC documents should be consulted as needed for more detailed information.

4. SARS Reporting
Physicians and health care facilities should report SARS suspects to their local county health department.