Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

  • Medical Author:

    Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP is a U.S. board-certified Infectious Disease subspecialist. Dr. Gompf received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, and a Medical Degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Gompf completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida followed by subspecialty fellowship training there in Infectious Diseases under the directorship of Dr. John T. Sinnott, IV.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is the incubation period for SARS?

The time between getting infected and the start of symptoms (the incubation period) is about two to seven days but occasionally has been up to 14 days.

What are risk factors for SARS?

SARS-CoV can infect a person regardless of their health status or age group. However, it was clear that some people were at increased risk during the 2002-2003 outbreak. This included people over the age of 50 (some reported mortality rates of about 50%), pregnant women, and those with underlying diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease. A major risk factor is simply close association with any person infected with SARS-CoV since the virus can be spread through droplets sprayed into the air by coughing, sneezing, or even talking.

Other risk factors include the following:

  • Recent travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan or close contact with ill people with a history of recent travel to these areas
  • Employment in an occupation at risk for SARS-CoV exposure, including a health-care worker with direct contact with a patient having SARS-CoV, or a worker in a laboratory that contains live SARS-CoV
  • Relationship with a cluster of cases of atypical pneumonia without an alternative diagnosis
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/22/2016

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