Public Health Fact Sheet

What is SARS?
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or (SARS), is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. SARS was first reported in Asia in 2003.  The illness then spread to more than two dozen other countries around the world.  Since 2004, there have not been any known reported cases of SARS anywhere in the world. 

How is SARS spread?
SARS is spread through by droplets through the air by close person-to-person contact. Droplet spread can happen when droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are breathed in by people close by.  The virus can also spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eye(s). 

How is SARS treated?
The CDC recommends that patients with SARS receive the same treatment as those patients with serious pneumonia, including isolation and other standard infection control practices.

How is SARS prevented?
Frequent handwashing with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based hand rub is very important.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands.  Cover your cough and sneezes.

Additional information is available on the CDC website at

  • Fever greater than 100.4 F
  • Headaches
  • Dry cough

  • Body aches
  • Overall feeling of discomfort

February 2020