SARS: Modern Pandemic Episode

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Throughout the ages pandemic episodes have plagued mankind. Severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS is an example of a modern pandemic that recently affected the world. The SARS pandemic challenged world health care organizations and governments on how to confront a modern day pandemic episode. This paper will explore the origin of SARS and the steps taken to contain and treat the pandemic episode. SARS emerged mid-November 2002 in southern China, in the province of Guangdong, but was not officially reported until February 2003 to the governmental health care organization of Guangdong (Ahmad, Krumkamp, & Reintjes, 2009). The first case of SARS outside of China that was reported was on March 3, 2003 in Vietnam, with more cases reported from Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, and Taiwan shortly afterward (Ahmad, Krumkamp, & Reintjes, 2009). By mid-summer of 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) had been notified of 8437 cases worldwide, with 813 deaths (Zhong et al., 2003). The disease spread quickly from China to Europe, North America, and southeast Asia because of travel from where SARS first started. Patients that were infected by SARS were noted to have atypical pneumonia. They presented with high fevers and respiratory issues that quickly developed into pneumonia within a few days (Zhong et al., 2003). Through serological and nasopharyngeal aspirate testing, the coronavirus (CoV) was determined to be the cause of SARS (Zhong et al., 2003). It was also determined that the persons that were originally exposed to the virus had contact with animals, most likely to prepare food, at a produce market in the province of Guangdong (Zhong et al., 2003). The virus had started with the animals, crossed over to humans, and mutated. ... ... middle of paper ... ...?. BMC Public Health, 91-8. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-81 N. S. Zhong, A. C., B. J. Zheng, A. C., Y. M. Li, A. C., L. L. M., A. C., Poon, Z., H. H., & ... Xu. (2003). Epidemiology and cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Guangdong, People's Republic of China, in February, 2003. Lancet, 362(9393), 1353-1358. Timen, A. A., van Doornum, G. J., Schutten, M. M., Conyn-van Spaendonck, M. E., van der Meer, J. M., Osterhaus, A. E., & van Steenbergen, J. E. (2006). Public health implications of using various case definitions in The Netherlands during the worldwide SARS outbreak. Clinical Microbiology & Infection, 12(12), 1214-1220. World Health Organization (WHO). (2004, October). WHO guidelines for the global surveillance of SARS Updated recommendations, October 2004. Retrieved from

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