01 May 2003
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Citation style for this article: Vilayleck MS. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Euro Surveill. 2003;8(5):pii=413. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=413
Date of submission:
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory illness that
recently is being reported in Asia, North America, and Europe. Scientists
detected a previously unrecognised virus belonging to the family of coronaviruses
in patients with SARS.
As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), a person is suspected
to have the disease if s/he has documented high fever (>38°C),
and cough or breathing difficulty, and having been in contact with a person
believed to have had SARS or a history of travel to a geographic area
where there has been documented transmission of the illness, during the
10 days prior to onset of symptoms. About 10-20% of cases patients will
require mechanical ventilation. At present, no other treatment than good
intensive and supportive care can be offered.
The European Commission has taken a proactive and leading role in responding
in a precise and timely manner to this outbreak, co-ordinating the EU
Network of Communicable Diseases and with the WHO, so that Member States
have responded consistently to this outbreak.
Under the framework of Decision 2119/EC/98 (1) establishing the European
Network for Surveillance of Communicable Diseases, the Commission is exercising
its co-ordinating role with Member States. Common surveillance approaches
and the same case definition (2) have been agreed upon to respond to this
outbreak but responsibility for their application remains with Member
Regular meetings, audio-conferences and continuous consultation with MS
under the auspices of the EU Communicable Disease Network Committee, and
WHO, enables the European Commission to co-ordinate actions for SARS epidemic
control in Europe addressing key issues (3).
The Commission collects daily reports from all Member States and applicant
countries to target appropriate actions (4). The WHO provides a worldwide
overview of affected areas and of reported cases that is also updated
The establishment of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
would provide additional capacity to respond more effectively and promptly
to Communicable Diseases threats (6).
For more information : www.eurosurveillance.org/sras_01.asp
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