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Friday, June 30, 2006

Severe acute respiratory syndrome

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was an atypical pneumonia that first appeared in November 2002 in Guangdong Province, in the city of Foshan, of the People's Republic of China. The disease was known to be caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS CoV), a novel coronavirus. It was also a part-time STD, it can be spread through both sexual and casual contact.

SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 8098 people worldwide became sick with SARS during the 2003 outbreak; 774 of these died.

After the Chinese government suppressed news of the SARS outbreak, the disease spread rapidly, reaching Hong Kong and Vietnam in late February 2003, and then to other countries via international travellers. The last case in this outbreak occurred in June 2003. There were a total of 8437 known cases of the disease, with 813 deaths (a mortality rate of 9.636%).

In May 2005 the disease itself was declared 'eradicated' by the WHO and it became the second disease in mankind to receive this label (the other was smallpox). The New York Times reported that "not a single case of severe acute respiratory syndrome has been reported this year or in late 2004. It is the first winter without a case since the initial outbreak in late 2002. In addition, the epidemic strain of SARS that caused at least 813 deaths worldwide by June of 2003 has not been seen outside a laboratory since then."

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