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The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 was the first emergence of an important human pathogen in the 21st century. Responding to the epidemic provided clinicians with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating a novel respiratory viral disease. In this article, we review the experience of the SARS epidemic, focusing on measures taken to identify and isolate patients, prevent the transmission of infection to healthcare workers and develop effective therapies. Lessons learned from the SARS epidemic will be especially important in responding to the current emergence of another highly pathogenic human coronavirus, the agent of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and to the recently emerging H7N9 influenza A virus in China. This paper forms part of a symposium in Antiviral Research on "From SARS to MERS: 10years of research on highly pathogenic human coronaviruses."
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.