Background: The 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak was a global epidemic that affected 8,098 individuals and resulted in 774 deaths by March 2003. Originating in Guangdong, China in late November 2002, this virus quickly crossed international borders to nearby countries like Hong Kong and Singapore and traveled as far as the United States. Patients infected with SARS suffered from severe respiratory symptoms that ranged from dry coughs to severe forms of pneumonia. Initial medical teams and community members in Guangdong had little to no information on the new strain of coronavirus. This gap in information and lack of medical resources combined with slips in surveillance from the Chinese federal government and public health officials facilitated the rapid spread of SARS that led to detrimental repercussions.

A One Health approach that utilizes human, animal, and environmental disciplines may have improved the surveillance and treatment of SARS. With this interdisciplinary approach, public health officials could have better educated and trained medical communities and the general public to ensure that these infectious diseases do not emerge while humans and animals increasingly interact with the environment.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to (1) present the epidemiology of the 2003 SARS outbreak (2) identify lessons learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak, and (3) explore the role of One Health in addressing the SARS outbreak.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.