- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
SARS, Corona Virus and Bats to Humans
SARS, or known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, is caused by the coronavirus, which is a germ discovered in China in 2003. Then, 8000 were impacted and the mortality rate was at least 10%. Over 750 people died from it, then, it spread across into 24 countries. The World Health Organization was on the verge of declaring it a pandemic and issued a travel warning. Finally, it was contained and since 2004, no new cases have been reported.
Researchers on the trail of SARS have since found out that the virus was carried by bats, which then infected small mammals where it went under mutation and at some point, humans caught the virus through food chains. The virus seems to be in a dormant stage and can suddenly erupt for no apparent reason.
In 2012, MERS, common to the Middle East region, broke out and killed 50 and more. The source was the suspected bat. More cases are also on the rise in Oman and parts of Europe because of travel there from the Middle East.
Back in China, researchers conducted hundreds of tests searching for the live virus in bats in Yunnan Province where the early SARS virus was first reported. This was hundreds of miles from food markets. Results showed that in China, it was the Horseshoe Bat that carried seven different SARS-like coronaviruses. The virus is now thought to be more dangerous because mere contact or handling bats, not just a food chain product, may spread it.
The study also showed that bats are a repository for nasty human problems if transmitted, such as, Ebola, Nipah, SARS and MERS.
SARS is like a bad case of the flu for many. Once a person has contracted SARS, the first symptom is a fever of at least 38°C (100.4°F) or higher. The early symptoms last about 2–7 days and include non-specific flu-like symptoms, including chills/rigor, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea, sore throat, runny nose, malaise, and myalgia (muscle pain). In severe cases, it develops into respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress and in most cases there is a low white cell count in the blood, which is one test doctors look at.