Posted by: Bubbly | 2003/03/26

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Hi Doc
Back with the same question. SARS stands for Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Has been in the news now for a couple of days. The World Health Org. (WHO) declared it a "worldwide health threat" on Saturday. My question sent to you on the 21st was what should one do as this desease is seemingly spread by air travel - and we have to travel to Bank Kok, Hongkong, Puket & Malasia between 9 April & 2 May. Your webpage dated the 25th April starts off with a articel on it (SARS bug kills 4%). I'm really worried now!!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Bubbly, I know it as ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) and it can be caused by a host of disorders – it’s not specific to the Asian flu (I think they are now almost sure it’s a Hong Kong strain).
The virus can spread by air travel, but it is spread by microscopic drops when people cough. You then breathe in these drops and get the disease. As far as they know, it’s a small percentage of people that actually develop pneumonia from it and even a smaller percentage develops ARDS.
Travelling to the East definitely increases your chance of catching it, but it doesn’t really matter whether you travel by plane or boat or whatever. The article says that it’s spread by air travel meaning that the virus is spread faster by international travellers than by water fowl (the way it is usually spread). Let me know if you have more questions. Good luck.

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