Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus is an emerging respiratory infection that has caused outbreaks in health care settings (Ho et al 2003, HWFB 2003). SARS virus is a new variant of the coronavirus family and transmits through the air and by direct contact. (He et al 2003, CDC 2003).
SARS coronavirus is one of the most hazardous infections for hospital personnel. In a study by He et al (2003) it was found that index patients were the first generation source of transmission and they infected inpatients and medical staff, creating second-generation patients. The major transmission routes were close proximity airborne droplet infection and close contact infection.
There was also evidence for the likelihood of aerosol transmission of infections through the ventilation system, which spread the infection to other hospital floors. A similar report comes from Ho et al (2003), who found that Hospital outbreaks of SARS typically occurred within the first week after admission of the first SARS cases before recognition and before isolation measures were implemented.
In the majority of hospital infections, there was close contact with a SARS patient, and transmission occurred via large droplets, direct contact with infectious fluids, or by contact with fomites from infectious fluids.
In some instances, the potential airborne transmission was reported in association with endotracheal intubation, nebulized medications, and non-invasive positive pressure ventilation of SARS patients. The nosocomial transmission was effectively halted by enforcement of standard routines, contact and droplet precautions in all clinical areas, and additional airborne precautions in high-risk areas