Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was found not only to affect the respiratory track, but that it can also infiltrate brain tissue and cause significant central nervous system problems.

This potentially fatal illness is caused by a coronavirus and was first reported in Asia in February of 2003. The disease is usually transmitted by contact with coronavirus-laden droplets sprayed into the air by an infected person’s coughing.

Effects on the brain were first spotted when a doctor who was treating SARS patients in China during the 2003 outbreak became infected himself. Besides usual symptoms of fever, chills, headache, muscle pain he showed problems with vision and some of the central nervous system symptoms like restlessness and delirium. A CT scan was done and it indicated brain damage. After his death, the researchers examined his brain tissue and found to have contained the SARS coronavirus. Besides the corona virus, in his blood and brain an immune system regulator called a chemokine was found, which is another indicator of the central nervous system infection.

The doctor was not the only one who experienced central nervous system symptoms. That is why the physicians need to be aware of the potential brain infection when evaluating patients with the disease. The drugs need to be given carefully and on individual basis was the conclusion.