This "flu like" illness began in South East Asia with early reports in 2003 from China, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Within a very short period of time the disease spread across the globe. SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome as is it's full name, causes an atypical pneumonia. This means the infected person suffers with a high fever of up to 38'C, along with a severe cough and breathing difficulties. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle stiffness, loss of appetite, malaise, confusion, rash and diarrhoea. These symptoms normally appear within a week of exposure to the virus, although it can be more than two weeks.
If a person experiences these symptoms and has been travelling recently, they should seek medical attention and wear a face mask to prevent further spread.What have the Experts Discovered?
Experts now know that the virus is a coronovirus. This virus is able to survive for 1-2 days at room temperature, and is normally responsible for the common cold.
Experts do not believe the virus is passed on through air borne droplets, through coughs and sneezes, and instead believe that the virus can a survive on frequently touched surfaces such as utensils and railings. Modern disinfectants are thought to prevent the virus from spreading further, so good hygiene and cleanliness are important to ensure SARS is not passed on.
If you must travel to areas where it is considered to be a risk area of transmission of SARS, the following guide lines have been set out:
- Ensure hygiene standards are always kept up to scratch, even in poorer areas. Carry with you antibacterial wipes to use in public bathrooms, and always have a hand sanitizer with you so you can wash your hands regularly, no matter where you are.
- If you come into contact with anyone who has or may have the virus, wear a face mask to protect yourself from contracting the infection. If this is nor feasible, use a handkerchief or another item of clothing.
- Make sure your travel insurances are adequate before travelling.
- If after coming back from your vacation you need to seek medical attention, make sure you bring it to their attention that you have recently travelled to an area considered a risk of SARS infection.
- Avoid crowded spaces like carnivals or sports events in an area considered as at risk. If you must visit areas such as this, wear a face mask or item of clothing to cover the mouth and nose, and make sure to use a hand sanitizer regularly.