How Long Did SARS Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6 months

SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, is a respiratory disease that hit many people worldwide in 2003. It’s a severe type of pneumonia. SARS infection causes (difficulty breathing) and, in extreme cases, death. In November of 2002, it was discovered for the first time in China. The disease spread to 29 nations, infecting 8,096 people, 774 of whom died.



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How Long Did SARS Last

How Long Did SARS Last?

The agentsStart dateLast day
SARSNovember 16, 2002July 3, 2003
MERSSeptember 2012Present

The SARS outbreak lasted about six months, and the disease spread to more than a dozen countries. It first occurred in China on November 16, 2002, was discovered by experts in February 2003 and lasted until July 3, 2003.

SARS belongs to the virus family (the same family that can cause the common cold). Infected droplets shoot into the air when someone with SARS coughs or sneezes. If you breathe in or touch these particles, you can contract the SARS virus. In these droplets, the SARS virus may persist for several hours on hands, tissues, and other surfaces. When the temperature drops below freezing, the virus may be able to survive for months or even years.

Most of the early SARS cases were caused by droplets spread by close contact, but SARS may also be spread by other things that have been in contact with hands and droplets. In some cases, airborne broadcasting is a viable option. The live virus was found in the feces of SARS patients, and it has been shown to survive for up to four days.

SARS causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscular discomfort, tiredness, cough, and sore throat, which appear 2 to 10 days after exposure to the virus. In some cases, after the initial interaction, SARS will begin sooner or later. People who are sick and have active symptoms are infectious. However, how long a person might be infectious once symptoms show is unknown.

Why Did SARS Last That Long?

SARS lasts that long because it is a form of dangerous pneumonia that can induce respiratory collapse, it can linger that long. SARS symptoms mimic a cold at first, and most people will treat it with cold drugs and continue about their business. As their symptoms increase, people may believe they have the flu and decide to stay in bed. The longer they last without treatment, the worse the condition will be.

The inevitable death is caused by a cytokine storm, in which the immune system overreacts and destroys the body’s cells. These storms have the potential to kill a person or create long-term harm that may lead to death due to the dysfunction of physiological mechanisms affected by cellular death.

There is no report of the spread of SARS anywhere on the planet. If the SARS epidemic arises, limiting your contact with SARS patients reduces your chance of contracting the disease. Avoid traveling to areas where a SARS outbreak is out of control. If possible, stay away from SARS patients for at least 10 days after the fever and other symptoms have subsided.

  • The most crucial aspect of SARS prevention is maintaining good hand hygiene. Use an alcohol-based quick hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands.
  • When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth and nose. When a person coughs or sneezes, infectious droplets are discharged.
  • Do not share food, drink, or utilities with others
  • Using an EPA-approved disinfectant, sanitize routinely touched surfaces.

Masks and goggles may help stop the spread of disease. When handling anything that may have come into contact with infectious droplets, gloves should be worn.


SARS took the lives of 9 percent to 12 percent of the people diagnosed during the 2003 pandemic. The death rate among adults over the age of 65 was more than 50%. In younger persons, the sickness was milder. Many more persons in the elderly population grew ill enough to need breathing help. More persons had to be admitted to hospital intensive care units. SARS epidemics were successfully contained thanks to public health interventions.



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