Viral loads in clinical specimens and SARS manifestations

Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Sep;10(9):1550-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1009.040058.


A retrospective viral load study was performed on clinical specimens from 154 patients with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); the specimens were prospectively collected during patients' illness. Viral load in nasopharyngeal aspirates (n = 142) from day 10 to day 15 after onset of symptoms was associated with oxygen desaturation, mechanical ventilation, diarrhea, hepatic dysfunction, and death. Serum viral load (n = 53) was associated with oxygen desaturation, mechanical ventilation, and death. Stool viral load (n = 94) was associated with diarrhea, and urine viral load (n = 111) was associated with abnormal urinalysis results. Viral replications at different sites are important in the pathogenesis of clinical and laboratory abnormalities of SARS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Feces / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharynx / virology
  • SARS Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / blood
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / urine
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*
  • Viral Load*