Monday, August 17, 2009

SARS Research Paper

Many people in the United States are unaware of a new deadly disease, which is wreaking havoc throughout the world because of the intense coverage of the war in Iraq. However, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome has currently infected 2,601 people worldwide and has killed 98 people as of April 7, 2003. The United States has been lucky thus far because no deaths have been reported in America. However, there have been 115 suspected SARS cases that have occurred in 27 states including California and New York, which are two of the most populated states.

Currently, the World Health Organization has defined SARS as an “atypical pneumonia of unknown Etiology.” Although this disease is very new and not much is known about it, researchers still have made some significant progress. Scientists have been able to link this disease to an unrecognizable version of the corona virus. The corona virus is named after its crown-like appearance and commonly causes the infected patient to have upper-respiratory problems. The major difference between the corona virus and SARS is that people infected with the corona virus usually have weakened immune systems to begin with. On the contrary, most SARS victims have been adults who were healthy before being infected with this deadly virus. Also, the corona virus is very rare in humans, it is mostly found in animals like dogs and cats. This is why scientists are investigating the possibility that this unknown version of the corona virus called SARS has been passed on from animals to humans just like HIV did.

HIV is a very deadly disease, but it is preventable for the most part as long as you practice safe sex. On the other hand, SARS is nearly unavoidable because it is much like other respiratory illnesses, which spread from close contact. For example, if one of your classmates became infected with SARS and they cough or sneeze while in the classroom they will release tiny droplets of infected matter into the air. If you breathe the air that is infected, then you can also become infected with the killer virus.

Once you have contracted SARS its takes anywhere from two to seven days for symptoms to be noticeable. The major symptoms for this disease is having a fever of a 100.4 or higher, chills, headache, muscle soreness, and a general feeling of discomfort is also common. Approximately three to seven days after being infected with the virus people have been experiencing a dry cough that can turn into hypoxemia, which is when there is a reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood. Also, about fifteen percent of infected patients have needed some type of assistance breathing either through intubation or mechanical ventilation. Doctors have begun to treat patients with antibiotics, antiviral agents, and a combination of steroids and antimicrobials. All these treatments have showed mild success this far.

Even though there is not much known about this deadly virus, hopefully this essay has made you more aware of the process of how the SARS virus is spread, contracted, and cured. Currently, there are two patients in Santa Barbara who have contracted SARS. This is why must be aware of this virus because it is so deadly, its so close to home, and the initial symptoms seem like you just have the common cold. However, if you believe you may have contracted SARS it is extremely important that you see a doctor immediately because if it is treated early you have a better chance of surviving.


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