Critical Care and Shock

The severe acute respiratory syndrome revisited

For many of us last year’s SARS epidemic was an extraordinary period in our lives. Since that time we have learned a fair amount about the disease. We know it is caused by the SARS corona virus [1], is probably spread by respiratory droplets and the airborne route, causes a predominantly respiratory illness with little other organ failure [2] and has an overall mortality of 7-17% ( Not surprisingly the mortality amongst those who required ICU admission was higher (27-52%) [3,4,5]. It is only moderately infectious overall but there are appear to be superspreading events or patients which can result in infection of large numbers of people [6,7].

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