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In early 2003, a new infectious respiratory (lung)
disease was described in Asia. It soon spread to other areas of the world,
including North America. This new disease is called severe
acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SARS is
highly contagious and is spread from person to person.
SARS is a viral illness, as are the common cold and influenza (flu). The type of virus that causes SARS is a coronavirus. Recent scientific studies have shown that some Asian animals
carry viruses similar to the virus that causes SARS. These animals may have
been the origin of the SARS virus that affects humans. The December 24/31,
2003, issue of JAMA includes several articles about
Torpy JM, Lynm C, Glass RM. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). JAMA. 2003;290(24):3318. doi:10.1001/jama.290.24.3172
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