SARS ? sounds as rather striking

SARS. These four letters should sound as a warning to us, especially to those, who have or are going to travel to the areas, where the disease is spreading. Although the reported cases of the SARS are not numerous in comparison with such common diseases as flu or pneumonia, we should remember that this is a new kind of disease, likely to keep some really unpleasant secrets. Additionally, each life is so precious that we should be careful enough not to risk our and other people's lives.

SARS stands for a severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. The number of confirmed deaths worldwide from the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) passed five hundred and was approaching to one thousand. It started in China in 2003 and the cause of the virus is not exactly certain. Most likely, the main carriers of the SARS are wild cats that live in the south of China; however, the virus was found in the blood of some other wild animals. Moreover, far more important is not to find the initial carrier, but to prevent the new outbreak of this kind of parasitic diseases. Needless to say that if there are carriers of the SARS nowadays, we cannot completely guarantee that there will not be a new epidemic.

Many people are concerned about how their travel may expose them to the SARS. While an airline travel has dramatically increased the speed at which this outbreak spreads, public health experts warn that you only need to be concerned when traveling to an area, in which a large number of the SARS cases have occurred.

The areas with large numbers of the SARS cases were Toronto, Canada; Singapore; Hanoi, Vietnam; Taiwan, and the following regions in China: Guangdong, Hong Kong and Shanxi. International travelers, departing from any of the affected areas, should be screened for a possible SARS presence before boarding their airplanes. The travelers with one or more symptoms of the disease, who have a history of exposure and who appear ill, must be seen by a physician, who after an examination may advise them to delay their trip until they are well enough to travel.

Currently, there is no known SARS transmission anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, those traveling to the potentially dangerous areas should be on their guard, since it may help stop the new outbreak of the SARS. The most recent human cases of the SARS infection were reported in China in April, 2004, in an outbreak, resulting from a laboratory-acquired infection. CDC and its partners, including the World Health Organization, continue to monitor the SARS situation globally. Any new updates on the disease transmission and the SARS preparedness activities will be posted at its site

What is meant by being on your guard? If you have recently traveled to one of the potentially dangerous regions, you are advised to be aware of the main symptoms of the SARS, which are: a high fever (more than 100.4 degrees F/38 degrees C), dry cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. If you experience these symptoms, you should see your physician to determine if you have the SARS.

How can you become infected with the SARS? Fortunately, there is only one way and that is through a close face-to-face contact with the SARS patients. The disease is spread in such circumstances, as through a direct contact with droplets from the mouth and nose of an infected person. Nonetheless, the SARS is a new and unusual disease and it is essential to remember that there may be some other ways of the SARS transmission.

Currently, the human kind seems to be out of danger of the SARS, at least as long as we are attentive enough. This is especially true about travelers, who can become potential carriers of the disease.


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