In April 2003, 80 people were reported dead and
over 2300 people infected in 23 countries with Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a virus first identified
in poultry vendors and chefs in China's Guangdong province in
November 2002. The virus, which has since spread to Hong Kong
and North America, is similar to coronavirus, which can cause
gut infections in humans, pneumonia in cattle, and infectious
gut and respiratory infections in chickens and other birds. Guangdong
health officials said the earliest SARS patients had been "in
close and continued contact with chickens, ducks, pigeons and
owls." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned it is
"too early to know if a global pandemic of SARS can be avoided."
- New Scientist, April 3, 2003.