January 1, 2004 | Issue 8

Basic Information About OSARS (Only Simchas Acute Refresh Syndrome)

BROOKWOOD, NEW JORKSEY — [TheKnish.com] Working closely with local health officials TheKnish.com presents exclusive information on the outbreak of OSARS. TheKnish.com is proud to provide this service to the community and looks forward to working closely with its readers on matters of similar importance:


Only Simchas Acute Refresh Syndrome (OSARS) is a click-on-refresh illness caused by a simchavirus, called OSARS-associated simchavirus (SARS-CoS). OSARS was first reported in Midwood, Brooklyn in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two-dozen Jewish communities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia before the OSARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained. This fact sheet gives basic information about the illness.

The OSARS outbreak of 2003

According to the National Union of Naches Urgency (NUNU), a total of 8,098 people worldwide were sick with OSARS during the 2003 outbreak. Of these, 774 were hospitalized. In the United States only eight people had laboratory evidence of SARS-CoS infection. All of these people had traveled to other parts of the world with OSARS.

Symptoms of OSARS

In general, OSARS begins with logging on to OnlySimchas.com and repeatedly hitting refresh to see if any more simchas have happened since logging on 20 seconds ago. Other symptoms may include muttering comments such as, "Uch, I can't believe my ex got engaged," and "Im Yirtzeh THIS!" Some people also have muscle fatigue in their index fingers from all the clicking. About 10 to 20 percent of patients dementedly sign guestbooks of people they don't know. After 2 to 7 days, OSARS patients may develop a contempt for newly engaged couples who don't include pictures of themselves. Most patients develop tremendous calluses on their index fingers.

How OSARS spreads

The main way that OSARS seems to spread is by close person-to-person contact. The virus that causes OSARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by respiratory droplets (droplet spread) produced when an infected person logs on to OnlySimchas.com, clicks refresh, then coughs or sneezes on the person he's showing his kallah to. Droplet spread can happen when droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled a short distance (generally up to 3 feet) through the air and deposited on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes of persons who are nearby, admiring the kallah. The virus can also spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eye(s). In addition, it is possible that the OSARS virus might spread more broadly through the air (airborne spread) or by other ways that are not now known.

What does "close contact" mean?

In the context of OSARS, close contact means having cared for or lived with someone with OSARS or having direct contact with respiratory secretions or body fluids of a patient with OSARS. Examples of close contact include kissing or hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, talking to someone within 3 feet and touching someone directly. Close contact does not include activities like walking by a person or briefly sitting across a waiting room or office.

What to do if you fear you've been exposed

It takes about 2 to 10 days to develop OSARS after exposure. If you feel you have been exposed, talk with your health care provider or your Hatzolah infection control or public health professional. A public health clinician may visit you to advise you during this time. For 10 days, watch yourself closely for a craving to visit OnlySimchas.com, a constant desire to wonder if your friends have gotten engaged and obsession with getting as many posts as possible for your own posted simcha. Take your temperature if you feel ill. Should you have symptoms, contact your health care provider BEFORE going to his or her office, clinic or hospital. Your health care provider will tell you what to do. This may include getting away from the computer, blocking OnlySimchas.com via parental controls and visiting the site, but avoiding the refresh button. If you are told to go to a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital, the staff will also take special measures to protect themselves and others from you while they decide if you have OSARS.


Pencil Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded TheKnish.com, and writes books from 5-9: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mbodekatgmaildotcom


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