CRISTINA PEDRAZZINI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CRISTINA PEDRAZZINI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
SARS protection face mask. Woman wearing a face mask to protect her against the SARS virus. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is a fatal lung disease that first appeared in China in late 2002, and spread worldwide through air travel. It is spread by the inhalation of airborne water droplets that contain the causative virus, a type of coronavirus. Other coronaviruses cause the common cold and a form of gastroenteritis. The face mask absorbs airborne water droplets, preventing the inhalation of the virus particles. The mask does not provide complete immunity, however. SARS is thought to be fatal in around 5% of cases.
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