WHO experts: Learn from Guangdong


EXPERTS with the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the experiences of south China’s Guangdong province in containing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are valuable and should be introduced to the rest of China and even the world as soon as possible. 

The province’s handling of the epidemic should serve as a model to all, Wolfgang Preiser, a German virologist, said on Wednesday in Beijing.  

He was one of four WHO experts who have just concluded an investigation in the SARS-stricken Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong. 

During their six-day mission, the experts met with local health authorities, medical professionals and experts in the provincial Centres for Disease Control laboratories and the virology laboratories of Zhongshan Medical University.  

Guangdong’s guidelines and checking systems for treatment and control of SARS should be put into use all over China, said team leader Meirion R. Evans, a British epidemiologist and clinician. 

Preiser described researchers and medical workers in Guangdong as “knowledgeable” and “capable,” who have done a lot of hard work fighting against SARS and were extremely eager to conduct further studies. 

They pointed out that though it was too early to say that the outbreak of the disease in Guangdong had been eliminated, the infections in the province were diminishing. 

The 1,000 some SARS cases in Guangdong account for a “very, very low” proportion of the 80 million population of the province, said James Maguire, an epidemiologist and infection disease specialist with the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. 

He said that effective control did not mean eradication, but that Guangdong hads made “huge progress” in containing the disease.  

The WHO experts appealed to China to enhance international exchange in the research and prevention of SARS, even though China has just newly joined the WHO-initiated global networks of laboratory, epidemiological and clinical studies. – People's Daily  

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