Canadian Environmental Health Atlas

Understanding Our Environment is Key to Promoting Health and Preventing Disease

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Key Points

SARS: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Key Points

1. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an atypical pneumonia caused by a viral infection.

2. The first known case of SARS emerged in China in 2002.

3. The 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto occurred in two phases and eventually led to 44 deaths and 400 cases of serious illness.

4. Transmission of the infection in the Toronto outbreak occurred primarily through hospitals.

5. The control of the SARS outbreak in Toronto is considered a key public health success  story.