SARS: Carriers, Symptoms, Treatment

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SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The first cases of the illness occurred in 2002 in China. The contagious nature of the illness and slow response led to its rapid spread around the world. The virus lives in some wild civets and bats in China and found in certain laboratory cultures.


Several coronaviruses infect humans and animals, the common cold is one of the diseases caused by these viruses. Scientists suggest that the virus originated in wild bats then infected civets and other similar mammals. The virus mutated to infect people eventually; the virus infected humans because bats serve as food in certain parts of Asia. Civets are cat-like animals that live in Asia and Africa, they create musk using their scent glands, which are used in perfumes. In certain parts of the world, these animals are hunted for their meat.

The disease spreads from person to person through secretions. In its first outbreak, SARS infected people who were caring for a sick person and spread easily in healthcare facilities until the establishment of control measures.

The virus can infect a person regardless of age or health; however, there were people who had a higher risk during the outbreak of the disease in 2002. The people at risk during that time were individuals 50 years old and above, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or liver disease. One of the biggest risk factors is close association with an infected person since the virus may spread through droplets sprayed by talking, sneezing or coughing.


An infected person begins to display the symptoms between two to seven days after infection. The illness is similar to influenza and may last for up to one week. Symptoms of the disease include:

  1. Headache
  2. Chills
  3. Fever
  4. Muscle aches
  5. Poor appetite

After the initial symptoms, a patient suffers from a syndrome similar to atypical pneumonia, including dry cough, progressively worsening dyspnea and inability to maintain oxygenation. Progression may be rapid or spread over several days. Severely affected individuals develop a life-threatening respiratory failure called adult respiratory distress syndrome.


Patients suffering from SARS often need oxygen and severe cases may need mechanical ventilation. Severely ill patients must be sent to the intensive-care unit for treatment. There has yet to be a proven effective treatment for SARS, and treatments are supportive and directed by a person’s condition.
While not all breeds of bats carry SARS, it is important to stay alert when they infest your home. The best way to avoid infection from bats of any disease is to let professional Ottawa wildlife control handle them. Ottawa wildlife control companies such as Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control have the necessary experience and equipment to get rid of bats to avoid and prevent infection and spread of any disease they may be carrying.



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