Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization have received reports of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from Asia, North America, and Europe. The cause of these illnesses is unknown and is being investigated. Early symptoms of these patients have included flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and around the world are exploring every possibility to find the cause of SARS. At this time there are two suspect cases of SARS in Tennessee.  For current numbers of suspect and probable SARS cases in the United States, visit the CDC's website.

As a precaution, people with the following symptoms should see a health care provider (Case definition as of 4/20/03):

Suspect Case

Respiratory illness of unknown etiology with onset since February 1, 2003, and the following criteria:

Measured temperature greater than 100.4°F (greater than 38°C) AND
One or more clinical findings of respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or hypoxia) AND
Travel (includes airport transit) within 10 days of onset of symptoms to an area with documented or suspected community transmission of SARS People's Republic of China (i.e., mainland China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region); Hanoi, Vietnam; Singapore; Taiwan, and Toronto, Canada.
Close contact* within 10 days of onset of symptoms with a person known to be a suspect SARS case. Close contact is defined as having cared for, having lived with, or having direct contact with respiratory secretions and/or body fluids of a patient known to be suspect SARS case.

Probable Case

A suspect case with one of the following:

Radiographic evidence of pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome
Autopsy findings consistent with respiratory distress syndrome without an identifiable cause

Report SARS

Please report all suspect or probable cases to the local health department or the Tennessee Department of Health, Phone 615-741-7247

For more information on SARS, visit the CDC’s website.

Guidance on Use of N95 Respirators by Health Care Workers

CDC website for clinicians

Healthcare providers, laboratories, and public health professionals can find more information about this disease and a variety of others at the Tennessee Department of Health Reportable Diseases and Events home page