More than 85 people nationwide have been diagnosed with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a mysterious lung infection that has set off a global health alert.
In response to the disease, which has caused residents of Hong Kong to don surgical masks whenever they leave their homes, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an unprecedented travel advisory for Hong Kong and China's Guangdong province on Apr 2. The WHO noted that the method of the disease's transmission was still unknown.
Eastern Asia has been hit hardest, and the disease is believed to have originated in Guangdong last November. Outbreaks have occurred in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hanoi and, most recently, Toronto. More than 2,000 cases and 78 deaths have been reported worldwide between Nov 1 and Apr 2.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control has determined that the Corona virus, never before seen in humans, is primarily responsible for SARS.
SARS patients have a 10-percent death rate. Symptoms include high fever, chills, dry cough, headache, muscular stiffness and diarrhea. America's first case was detected when scientists quarantined a Virginia woman on Mar 20.
Although there is no definite cause of transmission, officials say that people diagnosed with SARS had traveled or were in close contact with people who had recently traveled to Asian countries.
Information compiled from the Mar 27 and Apr 3 Washington Post
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