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Sars - Essay Example

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SARS 8th October 2012 Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a new severe respiratory disease which began in Guangdong, Southern China towards the end of 2002 (Hawkey et al., 2003). It is a viral disease caused by a new strain of corona virus which is related to viruses which cause cold…
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Download file to see previous pages Apart from the prevalent of mode of transmission through droplet suspension, fecal-oral mode of transmission has been shown to occur and thereby contribute to spread of the disease. Fecal-oral transmission is possible since it has been demonstrated that the virus can survive in the stool for 4 days. Due to the nature of profuse watery diarrhoea in SARS patients, SARS virus may be present in faeces thereby propagating fecal-oral transmission and fecal-respiratory transmission. This has been mentioned as one of the characteristics of SARS that enabled the virus spread in an apartment complex in Hong Kong (Peiris et al., 2003). SARS is commonly transmitted via droplets and close personal contact, factors which enhances its faster spread once an incidence has been established (Seto et al., 2003). The stability of the coronavirus for days in the environment such as in the stool also raises the incidences or possibilities of fomite transmission as a significant mode of transmission of SARS. The ability of this coronavirus to cause diarrhoea also aids in the transmission of the disease. It should be noted that normal stool has low pH as compared to stool from patients suffering from diarrhoea as a result of SARS. The high pH (low acidity) ensures the virus is able to survive and contaminate faeces for up to four days. Therefore the ability of the SARS virus to be spread from different routes namely in faeces, respiratory secretions and even in urine renders the coronavirus more advanced in its ability to spread very fast. Severity of the disease is as a result of being able to affect the whole respiratory system from the nose to the lungs. This is followed by high fever exceeding 38°C with acute breathlessness, coughing and sneezing. Acute breathlessness is as a result of the accumulation of fluids in the alveoli. The SARS virus rapidly replicates in the alveoli which is now filled with fluid and is further compressed by adjacent swollen tissues causing hypoxia. The patient succumbs to death due to lung failure (Puri, 2003). Therefore, the severity of SARS can be attributed to the events occurring in the lungs and specifically the alveoli causing an incomplete shut down of the breathing process. The virulence of the SARS virus ensures it spreads faster principally through deadly sputum droplets which occur through close personal contact. Severity of the disease is also attributed to its relatively short incubation period which can be as short as 2 days to a maximum of 2 weeks. In this review, important characteristics of the virus are highlighted such as the mode of transmission and pathogenesis which influences the severity of the disease. The principal mode of transmission which is airborne droplets consisting of the deadly viruses causes the SARS virus to be a potent killer coupled to its relatively short incubation period. This is further aided by the modern ease of travel ensuring the disease is able to spread from its epicenter for example the case of infection at Hong Kong airport in 2003 to different destination. The stability of the virus outside the human body is another feature of the virus that ensures its successful transmission to susceptible human host. It has been documented in several literature works that it can survive on fomites such as door knobs, phones and other objects for several days therefore ensuring that it spreads very fast. In addition, having been documented that it can survi ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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