The global outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) dominated public discourse in the Philippines from March to May 2003. But, given the scale of its impact and the range of responses it elicited, it largely escaped documentation, likely owing to its abbreviated timeframe and the overall lack of scholarly attention to contemporary medical crises. This article reconstructs the “outbreak narrative” of SARS and the perceptions and practices that surrounded it. It discusses points of comparison between SARS and the Covid-19 pandemic, underscoring that many practices seen in both events are familiar, not exceptional, responses to health crises in the country.
KEYWORDS: SARS • EPIDEMICS • INFECTIOUS DISEASE OUTBREAKS • HISTORY OF MEDICINE • PHILIPPINE PUBLIC HEALTH