Health

10 Diseases Which Threaten To Wipe Out Humanity

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2. SARS

Severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS is a respiratory illness that wreaked havoc in 2002 and 2003 when an outbreak, which started in the southern part of China, infected 8,096 people and caused 774 deaths. Most of the cases were centered in Hong Kong and China but the virus soon spread to Canada, Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan through a mainland doctor who was infected and stayed in a hotel long enough to infect 16 other house guests.

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Like most other respiratory illnesses, SARS is transmitted through saliva or cough droplets. You have to be in close contact to be infected with the virus. This can happen if you are caring for a person infected with SARS, or if you breathe a breath an infected person has exhaled. Symptoms include: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, muscle ache, headache, sore throat and even diarrhea. The incubation period for the virus is 3-7 days. Doctors believe that patients become infectious once they develop symptoms. Although some medications can improve symptoms, there is no known treatment for SARS. A combination of ribavirin and corticosteroids were used to manage the SARS pandemic years ago, while interferon alfacon-1 can slow the virus down by introducing more oxygen to the blood. However there is no proven cure. The only thing standing between us and a SARS pandemic is how fast cases can be identified and quarantined.

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