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Mankind's 13 Deadliest Diseases

Adam Starr | AllHealthcare

9. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

The CDC describes SARS as a feverishly “viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in China 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. According to the 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 the infected people had traveled to other parts of the world affected by SARS. Chinese scientists believe that the disease-jumped species from the civet cat to humans after the “cats” were eaten as food. The civet cat is a carnivorous mammalian animal similar to a cat but with a pointed muzzle not unlike a mongoose or otter.

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