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Germ Type: Virus
Coronaviruses infect humans and a variety of animals. Most human coronaviruses cause upper respiratory tract infections and cause a significant percentage of colds. Coronavirus infections occur in winter and early spring.
SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained. SARS is much more serious then the cold caused by human coronavirus. In general, SARS infections begin with a high fever (temperature greater than 100.4°F [>38.0°C]). Other symptoms may include headache, an overall feeling of discomfort, and body aches. Some people also have mild respiratory symptoms at the outset. About 10 percent to 20 percent of patients have diarrhea. After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough. Most patients develop pneumonia.