Early cases of SARS appeared to have originated in southern China (Guangdong province) as an unusual epidemic of severe pneumonia in November 2002. In 2003, an international outbreak developed involving 29 countries with 8098 cases of probable SARS and 774 (9.6%) deaths.[2] Most of what is known about the disease has been provided by this 2003 outbreak. The countries with the greatest number of reported cases included China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Canada.

In the US there were 27 cases (13 female and 14 male, with a median age of 36 years), 8 of which had laboratory evidence of SARS coronavirus (CoV) infection. The probable date of onset of the last case was July 13, 2003, and all of those infected had traveled to parts of the world affected with SARS. The disease did not spread more widely within the community in the US and there were no reported deaths.

There are no known cases of SARS transmission in any part of the world. The last known case in North America was identified on June 22, 2003, in Toronto, and globally on July 15, 2003, in Taiwan. Since then, 7 additional sporadic cases in humans have been reported: 2 laboratory-acquired in Singapore and Taiwan in 2003, and a cluster of 5 confirmed cases in China in April 2004.

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