Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a febrile illness that first appeared in 2003 and spread rapidly across the world from 2002-2003.

Signs and symptoms of SARS include flu-like nonspecific symptoms including fever, chills, and malaise. Symptoms develop within a week of infection with the virus. Infected people become ill within a week of exposure. The next associated symptoms include signs and symptoms of atypical pneumonia with respiratory distress, shortness of breath and dry cough.

Cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

Viral infection with a coronavirus known as SARS-CoV that is found in bats and palm civets causes SARS. The virus is found mainly in southern China and had previously not been identified.

Other severe acute respiratory syndrome symptoms


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.