Confronting SARS: a view from Hong Kong
An unusual atypical pneumonia emerged in the autumn of 2002 and winter of 2003, which was recognized as a new disease and designated Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A novel coronavirus (SARS CoV) was identified as the cause of SARS. This chapter describes the initial recognition of the new disease and the concerted international effort that allowed the rapid identification of SARS CoV as its aetiological agent. The tissue distribution of virus in infected patients is described with reference to the implications for onward human-to-human transmission. In contrast to other respiratory viral infections, the viral load of SARS CoV in the upper respiratory tract and faeces is low in the first few days of illness, and peaks around day 10 of illness. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications of this pattern of viral excretion.
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