Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(6): ED25-27
The mysterious severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that has originated from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong appears to be a major public health threat and medical challenge. Laboratory studies of SARS patients in a number of countries identified the iologic agent being a novel member of coronaviridae. High RNA oncentrations of this virus in sputum make it as a highly infectious agent. Low ations of viral genome are also detectable in feces. Coronaviruses are uitos. They cause disease in many animals including pigs, cattle, dogs, cats, and chickens. These viruses have been associated with upper spiratory infections and sometimes pneumonia in humans. SARS presents with fever, cough, malaise, dyspnea, and hypoxemia. Chest radiographs from affected regions are associated with progressive airway disease. Clinical laboratory features of SARS include lymphopenia,bocytopenia, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase levels. Currently, there is no FDA approved pharmacologic treatment for SARS. To date, no convincing clinical data is available for treatment of SARS with ribavirin. While there are some controversies about the use of systemic orticosteroids, Martin et al, in this issue of MSM, present their views on the use of pentoxyfylline (PTX) as a potential agent to be considered for SARS treatment.
Keywords: Animals, China - epidemiology, Humans, RNA, Viral - blood, SARS Virus - isolation & purification, SARS Virus - pathogenicity, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - epidemiology, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - prevention & control, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - transmission, Viral Load