Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
The last case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
(SARS) worldwide was reported in a laboratory worker
in China in May 2004. No cases have been reported since
then, although all hospitals maintain surveillance
on all cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome.
SARS is a respiratory illness. The main symptoms include
fever, dry cough, shortness of breath or breathing
difficulties. People can also experience headache,
muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue and diarrhea.
SARS is spread by close contact with an ill person
(i.e. sharing the same living space or coming within
three feet of an infected person), the same way a cold
is spread. You can protect yourself from SARS the same
way you protect yourself from the common cold - with
good hygiene practices, including:
- frequent hand-washing - use plain soap and warm
water for at least twenty seconds, or waterless hand
- immediate disposal of used tissues; and
- avoiding close contact with ill people.
More information on SARS can be found on the following
SARS and Your Health - BC HealthFiles
Anywhere in BC: 8-1-1
TTY (Deaf and hearing-impaired): 7-1-1
HealthLink BC helps you learn about health topics, check your symptoms and find the health services and resources that you need for healthy living. Call 8-1-1 to consult with a nurse, pharmacist or dietitian or visit HealthLinkBC.ca for easy access to help you find the health services you need, closest to where you live.
Translation services are available in over 130 languages on request.
Public Health Agency of Canada Information Line
For general inquiries about SARS, Influenza or Pandemic Influenza call
Public Health Agency of Canada information line at
1 800 454-8302. The line is
open 8 AM to 8 PM EST, Monday to Friday.