Fatal severe acute respiratory syndrome is associated with multiorgan involvement by coronavirus

J Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 15;191(2):193-7. doi: 10.1086/426870. Epub 2004 Dec 10.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is characterized by pulmonary compromise; however, patients often have evidence of other organ dysfunction that may reflect extrapulmonary dissemination of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). We report on the distribution and viral load of SARS-CoV in multiple organ samples from patients who died of SARS during the Toronto outbreak. SARS-CoV was detected in lung (100%), bowel (73%), liver (41%), and kidney (38%) in 19 patients who died of SARS, with the highest viral loads observed in lung (1.0 x 10(10) copies/g) and bowel (2.7 x 10(9) copies/g). Fatal SARS was associated with multiorgan viral dissemination in a distribution that has implications for disease manifestation, viral shedding, and transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Coronavirus / pathogenicity
  • Coronavirus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / virology
  • Lung / virology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / mortality*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Viral Load