Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory illness that was first reported in Asia in February 2003. In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert about SARS.
Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
By late July, however, no new cases were being reported and the illness was considered contained. According to WHO, 8,437 people worldwide became sick with SARS during the course of this outbreak. Of those people who became sick, 813 died.
The clinical criteria for the diagnosis of SARS are:
*) One or more signs or symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia, or radiographic (X-ray) findings of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome AND
*) Fever (>38? C, 100.4? F