Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (cont.)
Initial tests for people thought to have SARS include the following:
- Pulse oximetry (a test in which a probe connected to a computer is placed on the finger or ear to measure oxygen saturation in
- Blood cultures
- Sputum (fluid from
the respiratory tract) Gram stain and culture
- If SARS virus infection is suspected, the CDC should be notified; the CDC has specialized tests (RT-PCR and EIA) to identify the virus. These tests are not usually available to most laboratories although some state labs may have availability.
- Testing for viral agents such as influenza A, influenza B, bird flu, West Nile virus,
anthrax, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be done to rule out these problems or infections that may be confused with SARS, especially if there is no initial suspicion that the problem is caused by SARS and if SARS testing is not readily available.
- Urinary antigen testing for Legionella and pneumococcal species (two causes of bacterial pneumonia)