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Time to show unity against SARS

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 26 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:938
  1. David Chao, family physician (
  1. Hong Kong

    At the time of writing, more than a thousand people in Hong Kong have so far developed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). About 20% of patients have been discharged from hospitals; about 3% have died. Most of the deaths have been of people with a history of chronic diseases or those who sought treatment at a relatively late stage of infection. There are estimates that about 15% of affected patients might need intensive care. A number of frontline healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, have already been infected.

    Not only does SARS affect the patients and their relatives, but also everyone in the street and at home. Wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and avoiding crowded places have all become part of our daily routines.

    The sudden demand arising from SARS is testing the healthcare system—from prevention …

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