SARS, the 2002 coronavirus outbreak

It was 18 years ago that an outbreak similar to the current coronavirus outbreak killed 1 in 10 people who contracted it — but China's response was drastically different.

Global outbreaks

The coronavirus that's now spread beyond China is bringing back memories of the deadly SARS outbreak of 2003. SARS —Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was also caused by a coronavirus. The first infection appeared in Guangdong Province in November 2002, but it wasn’t until March 2003 that that the crisis was exposed. During the SARS outbreak, Dr. Julie Gerberding from Centers for Disease Control Director explained, “What we have here is an epidemic of new virus, or some virus that's causing problems in virtually every corner of the globe. We are controlling it primarily by identifying exposed and case patients and implementing public health measures to prevent spread.”

How the virus spreads

SARS killed about 1 in 10 people who contracted it. It spread to 29 countries, infected over 8,000 people, and killed nearly 800. Dr. David Heymann, the director at World Health Organization, reveals, “Instead of having dead-ended in humans, in other words, infecting humans and not moving on, it continues to transmit through channels of transmission to health workers, and to their family members, and others.” Like the new virus, SARS was transmitted from animals to humans. SARS is believed to have come from bats that infected civet cats, which were sold in open air food markets. Like the new coronavirus, SARS symptoms were fever and respiratory problems, including severe pneumonia. It spread from human to human through close contact.

Comparison of the two viruses

China's response to the new coronavirus outbreak is a stark contrast to SARS — when it initially concealed the true scale of infections. When there is a lack of information available during an outbreak, it is extremely difficult for doctors to inform the public with detailed advice. Shigeru Omi, WHO Regional Director, explained in 2006, “I don't think that there is an intentional cover up, but mainly because of the lack of technical capacity. And for some exceptional cases, I think there are certain human factors, like a reservation to report because they are afraid of the statement and a lack of compensation prevents them.” Once control measures were implemented, SARS was contained in months. No new cases have been reported since 2004, and the World Health Organization officially reported that the SARS outbreaks have been contained worldwide due to an unprecedented global collaboration in health.


01/25/2020 5:00 PM


  • Dashurije C.
    02/28/2020 22:36

    they never learn this people they abuse animals this is they karma terrible

  • Lati A.
    02/23/2020 12:47

    I knew nothing about SARS in 2003 I was just a ababy

  • Crispin G.
    02/20/2020 00:18

    Because this kills 20%

  • Estela C.
    02/17/2020 18:40

    Just too many filthy practices... feeding human waste to a tilapia farm and garlic farms. Etc...

  • Tala L.
    02/15/2020 13:42

    Honeslty china need to stop eating animal that normally people dont eat! They eat raw meat too!

  • Angélica H.
    02/12/2020 12:23

    No a las vacunas en escuelas u calles ya que siempre las muertes también de este estilo siempre van para un grupo específico para control de crecimiento la humanidad , grupos vulnerable todos aveces se ve el caso en niños , otros en jóvenes y después ancianos aguas .

  • Melody P.
    02/11/2020 05:33


  • Jenny J.
    02/09/2020 21:26

    Grt... Proud of y'all.. Now eat more animals

  • Benny H.
    02/09/2020 07:01

    This will be able to cured sooner or later. But HIV is a long time story.

  • Sanni L.
    02/09/2020 02:13

    People in America cough or sneeze without a tissue. This year, I came down with a bronchitis. So for my protection, I wear a face mask. Don’t judge me for wearing a face mask.

  • Holly C.
    02/08/2020 04:32

    In America we can't even convince the population to cover their face when they sneeze. I'm living in US and wear mask in public bc other people are gross and have no regard for the health & well being of those around them. Seems impossible to avoid coronavirus here.

  • Thushara S.
    02/08/2020 03:27

    This is biological weapons game between China and American very sad 😑 for People in China

  • Guero R.
    02/07/2020 23:06

    Two time . They don't listen stop sars & coronavirus

  • Padma R.
    02/07/2020 00:50

    If they killing they best friends n eat it i am talking about dog yes dog is man best friend what more they wouldn't eat i so sorry but god incharge please do the right things

  • Misako N.
    02/06/2020 23:15

    They did again ?!

  • Sharon C.
    02/05/2020 07:37

    At least i can say that there is original thing which is made in china..virus

  • Sheetal G.
    02/05/2020 02:01

    It’s only KARMA, they eat everything🤬🤬🤬 !!!!

  • Jacqueline F.
    02/04/2020 15:19

    China! Please stop eating every living thing that walks this Earth! Maybe it's meant to be here for a reason and not for human consumption!

  • Yolandi F.
    02/03/2020 16:19

    So they did not learn anything. I am. This is scary and heartbreaking

  • Trúc V.
    02/02/2020 10:04

    ey wwhen God says “a n o t h e r o n e “

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