The following is extracted from a PowerPoint presentation targeted at primary school students during the 2003 SARS outbreak in Singapore. For more information, please refer to links at the bottom of the page.
SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
SARS is a new flu-like illness that first appeared in China. Since then it has spread quickly in Asia and around the world.
SARS is the abbreviation for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
SARS is an atypical pneumonia, an infection of the lung that is caused by an organism. A new coronavirus (with a crown-like appearance) is the leading suspect for the cause of SARS. The virus is believed to have originated in wild animals sold for food in the markets of southern China but it is not known how the virus jumped from animals to humans.
- "Syndrome" means sickness
SARS is a disease, a kind of sickness.
- "Respiratory" is related to breathing.
To breathe is to take in air into your lungs and to let it out again. SARS is caused by a virus that infects the lungs.
People who are suffering from SARS have difficulty in breathing.
- "Acute" means dangerous
When a person has difficulty in breathing, it is very dangerous. It is dangerous because we need to breathe to live.
- "Severe" - SARS is a severe sickness.
When a person has breathing difficulties, he or she may die. Some people have died from SARS. So we all need to take SARS seriously.
Symptoms of SARS
How will I know whether or not I have SARS?
A person suffering from SARS has the following symptoms or signs:
- Breathing difficulties
- High fever and chills
- One sign of SARS is when you suddenly have a high fever of more than 38oC. Normal body temperature varies among people, but the average is 37oC.
- A chill is a feeling of coldness. Your body may even shiver or shake slightly.
- Dry cough
A cough is a sudden rush of air from the lungs to help clear irritations in our throat. A dry cough is a cough where normal mucus is the only material that is expelled.
- Muscle aches
Another sign of SARS is when you feel muscle aches all over your body.
SARS is infectious and is spread through droplets expelled from an infected person when he coughs or sneezes. We can all help stop the spread of SARS by practising good personal hygiene.
- Cover your mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze
Remember to throw the tissue into a toilet bowl and flush it away.
- Do not spit
If you have to spit, spit into a washbasin or toilet bowl and then flush it away.
- Wash your hands with soap and water
After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water. You should also wash your hands before eating and after going to the toilet. When washing your hands, remember to wash between your fingers.
Information compiled in February 2006 by "Parenting the Next Generation"
Mad Cow Disease | SARS | Bird Flu