In this essay, a description is made about the SARS virus and of the characteristics that most make this pathogen a feared one, in what regards its spread and severity of the disease.
On SARS cases that have been studied, the characteristics that make this pathogen a feared one are the fact that it is a highly infectious pathogenic agent that is easily transmitted, both by person-to-person contact, in everyday situations like coughing or sneezing, and by contact with infected surfaces, and also the fact that it can be easily confused with common cold situations in its early onset stage and, consequently, disregarded the real severity of the illness.
Concerning the one that would raise greater worries and travel plans cancellations, the fact that SARS virus is so easily transmitted through person-to-person everyday contact and contaminated surfaces would be the characteristic to do so.
Keywords: SARS, virus, infection, transmitted, contact, infectious, disease.
- Important Characteristics
The characteristics found in the materials on SARS virus that can be considered to be the most important to keep in mind regarding its spread and severity are the fact that it is a highly infectious pathogen, easily spread through everyday person-to-person contact (like coughing or sneezing) and simple contact with contaminated surfaces, and the fact that it can be easily confused with a common cold in its early stage of the illness onset.
- Why are these important
These can be the most important characteristics about this pathogen to be regarded.
On one hand is the fact that the SARS virus can be so easily transmitted. This can happen through person-to-person contact, which happens every day and in every situation, like when someone coughs or sneezes in any given environment; thus, it makes this a very serious infectious pathogen, which can quickly be spread in large numbers and form epidemic bursts that on their turn get bigger by the minute.
It can also be transmitted through the contact with contaminated surfaces, so even when infected people are put into quarantine, the places where these people have been before are also potential infected environments where the virus may be present for just enough time for the infection to carry on and the pathogen transmitted to other people that may be present there before the premises are isolated and decontaminated.
On the other hand, the SARS virus, in its early stage of onset, presents signals and symptoms that are similar to the ones seen in common cold cases – some examples are headaches, myalgias, or chills. This means that, on its onset, the SARS-infected cases can be mistaken for common cold, or flu, cases and be disregarded in what its severity is concerned, and that people that are actually infected with SARS may keep circulation in various environments, unaware of it, contaminating these environments and potentially infecting more people easily.
- What is the characteristic that causes concern and travel plans cancelation
Because travelling to another country implies close contact with several people and several places throughout all the travelling process and stay in the destination country without knowing whether everyone and every environment are “clean” from the pathogen, a person does not, really, feel safe and free to go to that destination where SARS virus has spread before, without the fear and being in contact with potential carriers of the virus, anywhere.
This way, being highly infectious and easily transmissible, it may easily cause people to worry and question whether to follow with their plans to visit a country where the virus has been diagnosed, or not.
In conclusion, what defines SARS virus as a pathogen that can cause great worries is the fact that it can be easily transmissible, both through person-to-person everyday contact, such as in a cough, or sneeze, and through the contact with contaminated surfaces, and the fact that its early signals and symptoms can be mistaken for a common flu, or cold, disregarding/unknowing the true severity of the illness that the infected person has.
Thus, when concerning a travelling situation, the one characteristic that may cause for people to worry and cancel their travel plans is the easy transmission of the SARS virus, which can potentially be present in every person, or every place, that one has close contact with throughout the whole travelling experience.
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Seto, W.H., Tsang, D., Yung, R.W., Ching, T.Y., Ng, T.K., Ho, M., Ho, L.M., Peiris, J.S. (2003). Effectiveness of precautions against droplets and contact in prevention of nosocomial transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The Lancet, 361 (93689, 1519-1520.