Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory illness that is spread through close contact with an infected person. Those persons living in the same household, providing care to someone with SARS, or having direct contact with respiratory secretions and body fluids of an infected person are most at risk for contracting the disease.
As of September 5, 2003, 438 cases of SARS have been reported in Canada. The first Canadian cases were identified in March 2003 in people who had traveled to Hong Kong and returned to Canada. The majority of cases were in Ontario, but cases were also reported in British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan.
If you think you may have come in contact with an infected person and develop a fever greater than 38.0 degrees Celsius along with respiratory symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, you should call your health care provider to seek advice. In some cases, other symptoms of SARS may include muscle aches, headaches, sore throat and diarrhea.
Remember to stay calm, yet alert; there is no evidence of SARS spreading within the general community in Canada.
Find out more about symptoms, prevention and treatment of SARS by consulting the following resources:
The Public Health Agency of Canada offers the following resources:
The Public Health Agency of Canada also provides information to health professionals in order to facilitate a consistent approach towards the prevention and control of severe respiratory infections.