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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (cont.)

SARS Diagnosis

Initial tests for people thought to have SARS include the following:

  • Chest X-ray films
  • Pulse oximetry (a test in which a probe connected to a computer is placed on the finger or ear to measure oxygen saturation in the blood)
  • 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)



Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) »

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a serious, potentially life-threatening viral infection caused by a previously unrecognized virus from the Coronaviridae family.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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