Between March 25 and 27, 2003, two different groups of researchers in the cdc and Hong Kong University announced that a previously unrecognised coronavirus could have caused the sars epidemic. This family of viruses is the second leading cause of colds in children and premature infants but has never been perceived to be a serious health threat. Other labs in Hong Kong, Germany and Singapore proposed that another virus from the family of polymyxovirus could be a helper or a cause of co-infection in sars. But on April 15, the who confirmed that monkeys experimentally infected with a new coronavirus developed an illness similar to sars.
Close contact with infected persons raises the risk of contracting sars. Transmission usually takes place through direct contact with respiratory secretions and body fluids of patients. But another recent discovery that it can survive in human faeces implies that unhygienic conditions even in homes