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What is SARS?

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Quick Answer

According to the Mayo Clinic, severe acute respiratory syndrome is a contagious illness that can be fatal. SARS starts off with symptoms similar to those of the flu, including muscle aches, fever and sometimes diarrhea.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, after about one week people with SARS have worsening symptoms, including shortness of breath, a dry cough and a fever greater than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people with the syndrome develop pneumonia, and breathing problems may get so bad that a mechanical respirator is needed. SARS was first noticed in China in 2002. As of 2014, there have been no known transmissions of SARS since 2004.

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