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About SARS: What is SARS and how does it spread?

SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It is a severe pneumonia-like
respiratory disease first seen in Southeast Asia in late February 2003. SARS
causes a high fever, severe breathing problems and flu-like symptoms. Over 8,000
cases have been reported worldwide. Evidence in Canada to date suggests that
less than 10% of those infected with SARS will die from it. In other countries,
this number may be higher.

What causes SARS?
Scientists have confirmed that a kind of virus called a coronavirus
causes SARS. Like sister coronaviruses known to cause the common cold, the virus
seems to spread through aerosolized (exhaled) droplets and body secretions from
an infected person. You can come into contact with these droplets when an infected
person coughs or sneezes. Most cases in Canada have occurred with people who
have recently travelled to Asia, health care workers who have cared for SARS
patients, and close family members of SARS patients. The incubation period (the
amount of time it takes for symptoms to appear after exposure to the virus)
is usually 2 to 10 days. The most common period is 3 to 5 days.

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