A decade after the World Heath Organization issued a global health alert about SARS on March 12, 2003, a forum aiming to review the SARS experience and improve infectious disease preparedness was held Tuesday.
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) claimed 299 lives in Hong Kong and 775 worldwide during its outbreak in 2003.
Dozens of renowned experts from the World Health Organization, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Britain, Singapore and Canada shared their experience and lessons learned in the public health sector and crisis management during the SARS outbreak 10 years ago, as well as their updated research findings in clinical and virology sectors at the forum "SARS A Decade On: A Conference for Health Professionals" held by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Dr. Thomas Tsang, former controller of the city 's Center for Health Protection, said in the past 10 years, Hong Kong has developed higher technology and gained more experience and knowledge in handling infectious diseases and "most importantly we have put in place better disease combating structures."
However, Tsang said, the novel coronavirus, which was probably originated from the Middle East, serves as a reminder that the battle against emerging infections is far from over.
Globalization and more frequent population movement in these days, aging population that are more susceptible to contract infections, together with growing public expectation have become challenges to infectious diseases control, he added.
Echoing Tsang 's view, Prof. Nahoko Shindo, head of Clinical Team of the department of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases at World Heath Organization 's headquarters, emphasized that infection control is every one 's business.
She said that SARS outbreak accelerated the revision of International Health Regulations, prompting a complete shift of paradigm so that the regulations fit the context of the 21st century 's global health security.