Severe acute respiratory syndrome



A contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome, also called SARS, is a viral infection of the respiratory system that spread from person to person between 2002 and 2004. The virus that causes SARS is a coronavirus. SARS can lead to breathing problems and sometimes can cause death. No known transmission has occurred since 2004.


SARS spreads most easily between people through direct, close contact. It typically starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches and headache. Another symptom of SARS is breathing difficulty, such as shortness of breath.


Treatment for SARS is to ease symptoms while the infection runs its course.