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Ready Marine Corps

Emergency Preparedness Program

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Several physicians are wearing masks in this image to prevent the spread of SARS.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). It was first reported in Asia in 2003. The SARS outbreak of 2003 made it a disease to watch. While it seems SARS has subsided in its aggression, with no known cases reported worldwide since 2004, it is always best to stay informed and prepared.

Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Early onset fever (100.4°F or more)
  • Headache and body aches
  • Mild respiratory symptoms at onset
  • 10%-20% have diarrhea
  • A dry, nonproductive cough, which may lead to hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood) and may require ventilation
  • Pneumonia
  • Always wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoid touching anything or anyone with unwashed hands.
  • Cover mouth and nose when cough­ing or sneezing, and encourage others to do so.
  • SARS is thought to be spread through close person-to-person contact (within 3 feet).
  • SARS is most effectively spread through respiratory droplets emit­ted when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets may be transferred through the air when breathing close to an infected individual and by touching an area covered with the droplets.
  • Once exposed, SARS may incubate in the body for 2–10 days.
  • An individual with SARS may be contagious up to 10 days after the fever and respiratory symptoms have subsided.
  • There is currently no specific treat­ment for SARS.
  • It is recommended individuals infected with SARS be treated with the same techniques as any other severe pneumonia.

Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.

Where to Find Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organizationwww.who.int/csr/sars/en

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