Community Health in the Event of a Sars Outbreak
The SARS Outbreak of 2003
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, originally reported in Asia in February 2003 and spread to over two dozen countries before being contained (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2005). Once infected, individuals with SARS initially develop a high fever and other flu-like symptoms including headache, body aches and “overall feeling of discomfort” before, in most cases, progressing to pneumonia (CDC, 2005).
The disease was first diagnosed in a middle-aged man who had flown from China to Hong Kong. A few days after the announcement of the disease, rumors and panic began to spread, causing …show more content…
As such, an increase in hospitalizations within a community with a decreased amount of healthcare workers worsens the strain on the community’s healthcare system.
Further effects on the community in the event of a SARS outbreak would be seen in the closing of public buildings, such as schools. If the schools closed, as they did in Southeast Asia during the 2003 outbreak, families with two working parents would have to find alternatives for their children. With employment rates in the United States being low at this time, many people may be hesitant to ask for time off work, fearing that someone else would easily replace them in their position.
These concerns could also increase the possibility of mass transmission, as many people may try to continue working while sick, not realizing they were carrying the deadly disease. Additionally, many people may procrastinate seeking medical advice on their symptoms, fearing they would be instructed to stay home from work, hospitalized or even quarantined. As evidenced in laboratory studies of the virus, virus secretion increases as the disease lingers (Kutsar, 2004). Simply, the longer a person is infected, the more easily they transmit the infection to others.
As more and more of the community becomes infected, and possibly quarantined, other services in the community will suffer. Grocery store shelves may remain empty longer, as healthy staff struggle to keep up with the demand. Mail delivery may lengthen due