Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was a new infectious disease that emerged in mid-November 2003 in Guangdong, southern China. By the time this global pandemic was declared contained on 5 July 2003 by WHO, it had afflicted 8090 patients in 29 countries.
No other disease had such a phenomenal impact on healthcare workers (HCWs), as they formed about 21% of SARS patients. In Vietnam, Canada and Singapore, the percentages of HCWs were 57%, 43% and 41%, respectively. The SARS crisis had become a medical plague.