Flu Shots and SARS

December 10, 2006 11:01am CST
Flu shots offer some protection against the severity of flu viruses. They do not offer total protection as the immunization mixture is made up of the best guess of which viruses are likely to be active in a certain year. Flu shots most likely would have not prevented the symptoms of SARS (Severe Adult Respiratory Syndrome). However there are many other viruses that can kill the elderly and young children. You do not know if you are standing next to someone who is ill unless they are showing symptoms. Often this is too late as someone is infectious in the days preceeding their symptoms. If a person thinks they have a common cold just starting and are coughing anywhere near you, you can become infected. I have included some interesting information about SARS and it's transmission in 2003. It caused disruption to my city, huge costs in lives and money and healthcare resources and left many healthcare workers traumatized and unable to resume their careers. Do you think that if there was a simple vaccine, you would take it? Or do you think like some others, that it is better for the body to fight off illnesses on its own and that will make you stronger? I am interested in your opinions. Do you also think that if you work with children and/or the elderly, you have a responsibility to have your Flu shot? I also wanted to include this information as I think it can pertain to other possible pandemic viruses that have the possiblity to kill millions and not just thousands. This info is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) SARS Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained. This fact sheet gives basic information about the illness and what CDC has done to control SARS in the United States. To find out more about SARS, go to CDC's SARS website and WHO's SARS website. The SARS outbreak of 2003 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 8,098 people worldwide became sick with SARS during the 2003 outbreak. Of these, 774 died. In the United States, only eight people had laboratory evidence of SARS-CoV infection. All of these people had traveled to other parts of the world with SARS. SARS did not spread more widely in the community in the United States. For an update on SARS cases in the United States and worldwide as of December 2003, see Revised U.S. Surveillance Case Definition for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Update on SARS Cases --- United States and Worldwide, December 2003. Symptoms of SARS In general, SARS begins with a high fever (temperature greater than 100.4°F [38.0°C]). Other symptoms may include headache, an overall feeling of discomfort, and body aches. Some people also have mild respiratory symptoms at the outset. About 10 percent to 20 percent of patients have diarrhea. After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough. Most patients develop pneumonia. How SARS spreads The main way that SARS seems to spread is by close person-to-person contact. The virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by respiratory droplets (droplet spread) produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplet spread can happen when droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled a short distance (generally up to 3 feet) through the air and deposited on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes of persons who are nearby. The virus also can spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eye(s). In addition, it is possible that the SARS virus might spread more broadly through the air (airborne spread) or by other ways that are not now known. What does “close contact” mean? In the context of SARS, close contact means having cared for or lived with someone with SARS or having direct contact with respiratory secretions or body fluids of a patient with SARS. Examples of close contact include kissing or hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, talking to someone within 3 feet, and touching someone directly. Close contact does not include activities like walking by a person or briefly sitting across a waiting room or office. www.cdc.gov/NCIDOD/SARS/factsheet.htm
No responses