Bacteria, Viruses, and Protists

Virus Basics

What is SARS?

SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—the first “new” disease of the twenty-first century that was known to jump from an animal host to humans. Once it infects a person, SARS is easily transferred from human to human, making it one of the most frightening diseases known. The first case was detected in China’s Guangdong Province in November, 2002, but it was not announced until February, 2003. Around 8,000 people were infected by the disease and caused panic worldwide. To stop the spread of SARS, millions were screened at airports, schools closed, tourism took a direct hit in many countries, and hundreds in Asia and Canada were placed in quarantine. It was finally contained months later, with about 800 deaths known.


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