SARS - or severe acute respiratory syndrome - was a virus, pictured above, that put our modern methods of disease control to the test. It first broke out in the Guangdong Providence, South China, before spreading to Hong Kong. It was through the SARS epidemic in Asia that superspreaders were first identified - superspreaders being certain individuals especially good at spreading the SARS virus to many other people, for reasons scientists still can only hypothesise about. In epidemiology today, superspreaders are a very important concept as we look at other highly infectious diseases like SARS. All in all, the containment of the SARS outbreak was a major victory for worldwide health organisations and epidemiologists alike.
Pictured above is the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), the viral agent of SARS.