SARS Outbreak – How Bad Is It?

This page contains unconfirmed information and please take as rumor only.

SARS has been popular on the web. I have seen reports of bloggers here and there.

Today, one of my friends, who is visiting Shanghai next week, asked me about SARS on MSN Messenger.

HI, am just concerned with SARS outbreak. Is it bad in Shanghai?

Well. Is it bad? Actually, I didn’t heard of the term SARS before. Soon I realized, via Google, that it is linked to the Pneumonia-type virus outbreakin Guangzhou two months before. Now it got a new name and moved the new location.

HONGKONG — The worldwide outbreak of a mystery pneumonia is believed to have been triggered by a sick doctor from southern China who infected six other people at a Hongkong hotel, health officials said.

Source: SARS outbreak traced to HK hotel

It is bad. But how bad?

I am living in Shanghai. To be honest, I have never heard of any relationship between SARS and the city until I saw it in MSN Messenger. For bad news like this in China, you can never count on media to tell you the news – the main news source is still emails and Internet. But they are more like rumor than the truth. Sometimes the bad news is magnified and become worse.

The pneumonia-type virus breakout in Guangzhou two months ago was bad – really bad. People are rushing to stores to buy medicines. Most people are wearing medical masks on the streets which strengthened the anxiousness.

The following photos were taken in Guangzhou in mid-Feb this year.

Note: In the photos, masks were improperly used! Check out the instructions. Thanks Mainlander for pointing it out.

guangzhou-virus-people.jpg

Guangzhou-Virus-waiting.jpg

Guangzhou-Virus-waiting.jpg

guangzhou-sars.policy.jpg

Policemen in Guangzhou are wearing masks. Source: Tom.com

In Shanghai, so far so good

In Shanghai, however, only one person died in Changzheng (Long March) Hospital (as far as I know) in Feb.

Disclaimer: This may not be the truth since I am not sure whether the email I got is true or not. The only confirmed fact is, I received an email stating one person died for this virus in Shanghai. Please do take this as rumor.

Update March 27, 2003

The city newspaper reported no case of SARS was found in Shanghai on March 27, 2003 as headline news.

SARS Symptoms

Fever (over 38 degrees Celsius)

– AND –

One or more respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing

Refer to another blog entry for more details.

See also:

Thanks for Mainlander’s contribution. Here are some sites in Chinese about the prevention of SARS.

67 thoughts on “SARS Outbreak – How Bad Is It?”

  1. People in Shanghai talked about Guangzhou’s “flu” in Feb and shrugged it off when local news said it had been under control and most info spreading had been rumors. As of today (25 Mar), only few who visit foreign websites in English know what SARS is. Most people (incl. health workers) do not know what SARS symptons are. News report on SARS is strictly forbidden. Shanghai residents continue spitting and coughing towards each other. It is so dangerous!

    Generally speaking there’s no outbreak in Shanghai, but I believe the public should be well informed about the development of this issue. As far as I know, the only Chinese information about SARS available online is Hong Kong government’s website (http://www.info.gov.hk/info/infection-c.htm), which is not blocked by local internet police. If you care about the Chinese public’s health, and your own health, please tell your friend about this link, or post this link on your website.

  2. For official daily update, visit http://www.who.int (World Health Organization). You may find there’s no info about mainland China–it sucks!

    I just quit bus rides to work and started cycling to prevent close contact with others, as saliva (NOT air) is the way in which SARS spreads.

    I really don’t know how to tell people about this. It seems most people care about Iraq only.

    May God bless those infected and those not infected! May the Communist regime understand how to be a ruling party and how to respect and care the public (instead of “the masses”)!

  3. As some friends complain they cannot view traditional Chinese on HK government website I presented, please go to: http://sc.info.gov.hk/gb/www.info.gov.hk/info/infection-c.htm for simplified Chinese version, or, upgrade your browser to IE5 or later.

    Don’t be panic about the desease. The mortality rate is not that high if the infected can be properly treated in time, and the world’s efforts are making breakthroughs.

    By the way, I read about dozens of volunteers joining medical team at Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH, Shatin, HKSAR) when many health workers are down with SARS, while at Ruijin Hospital (S’hai), some doctors and nurses turned off patients showing SARS symptoms. I real feel it a shame! The local government should not cover up the facts any more. The public needs transparent media, full medical info, and most important of all, courage!

  4. Mainlander,

    Thanks for your good information sharing. I can feel your passion for the people and your concern about the situation. Hong Kong SAR’s report on methods to prevent the spread of the disease is very valuable. I am spreading the link to my friends. One question – what do you think I can do more to help others to be informed and take action to prevent the infection?

  5. You may have noted foreigners here in S’hai care about their health much more than locals. Are they really overcautious? On a bus, do you think it is “civilized enough” to fend your mouth with a hand when coughing? (Public health guides say one should use a tissue and PROPERLY dispose of it after use.) I was shocked when I heard a foreigner proclaiming he’d found an easy way to tell Chinese mainlanders from non-mainlanders: those who spit and those who don’t spit! Though a bit exagerated, unfortunately he is right in general.

    Well, I am straying too far away. Let’s get back to the topic: how to arouse public attention.

    As the topic is banned in China, it seems I am challenging the Communists. Will you risk prosecution spreading such info online? I don’t want to look like a rumor spreader, while I do feel it hard to find RELIABLE and LOCALLY-ACCEPTABLE (I mean both the language that conveys the info and the info itself) online information.

    During the past few weeks, I’ve been sending links (English language) about SARS to my friends, but most of them, though versed in English, would not even spare a click. When I asked some of them for their feedback on the links, I was repeatedly told that the messages were deleted as another piece of junk mail! Today, instead of sending links, I am sending the HK’s gov’t webpage directly. Immediate feedback is satisfactory and encouraging. I never spammed, but I’d like to be a spammer this time.

    A suggestion: An HK pop star donated a sum purchasing medicated masks to present to health workers as a support. May we do something similar (I am not an imaginative guy but a follower only)? You’ve got a nice website that may call for support, I think. But before action you should refer to legal aid.

  6. You never know what’s going on in CHINA. The flu started last Novemeber but the chinese government has been trying to hide it. If not the outbreak in HK, i guess we would never know. China claims that the situation is under control and 77% of the patients recovered but still denying access of info/samples etc from the WHO. If China has been so successful, she might as well share the info with others. 77%?! I guess China must know something that the US, Germany, HK scientists dont know.

    What i wanna say is the situation in China as released by chinese government is questionable. You can trust no one coz there aint a single credible source. And China has been *irresponsible*, they knew this new desease in Nov why didnt they tell anybody?! When it came out in HK it was already too late. IRRESPONSIBLE!

  7. It’s getting kinda scary here in Canada too. Today, police in Toronto actually had to close down a hospital and quarantine it. Two weeks ago, this thing was on the back pages of the newspaper, but now it’s in the frontpages right up there with that other major world event. Let’s hope this thing gets put down soon.

    David

  8. HKER#39, thanks for posting, but I’d like to ask everyone on this board to keep the post nice and friendly. I agree with some of the points in the post, but I don’t want to get any trouble for this page. This site is hosted physically in Shanghai and need to follow the local law and regulations. Too aggressive comment may put this site into trouble. I’d like to know your oppions, but safty is always first. (I know this may not be a reasonable request, but help me on that, please.) I still keep my value that I will NOT delete or modify any of the comment of my dear guest as long as the comment is readable.

    BTW, do you know that this site is still illegal in China? Check this out.

    http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20020926_my_site_remains_illegal_in_china.htm

  9. Mainlander, thanks for your continous updating on this. I have updated the links to the content of the page. However, I am not sure how many people will find this site and read it. Let me count the numbers.

  10. Mainlander and Jian Shuo,

    Thanks for providing the info about SARS. It looks like the issue has gone political and I wonder if we will ever hear the complete (OK, half of it) truth about spreading of SARS in Shanghai. Mainlander, I share your frustration concerning coughing and spitting. Shanghai will never become a true metropolis unless the locals change their habits as it is a matter of people, not the number of skyscrapers. And please do not tell me all those spitting, coughing and pissing in public are Wai Di Ren…

    BTW can anybody post the article from Washington Post here? It has expired from the original site.

    Very frustrated,

    Shanghai Knight

    PS:

    Jian Shuo,

    Congratulation on good work on your web site!

  11. Mainlander and Jian Shuo,

    Thanks for providing the info about SARS in Shanghai. It looks like the issue has gone political and I wonder if we will ever hear the complete (OK, half of it) truth about spreading of SARS in Shanghai. Mainlander, I share your frustration concerning coughing and spitting. Shanghai will never become a true metropolis unless the locals change their habits as it is a matter of people, not the number of skyscrapers. And please do not tell me all those spitting, coughing and pissing in public are Wai Di Ren…

    Some extra info for those interested that I have recently got from a friend from Singapore:

    1) “A very sick SARS patient who coughs and sneezes can transmit the virus

    to people up to a metre away.”

    2) “They are now saying that this virus can stay and contaminate objects

    for up to three hours” – Singapore Health Minister Lim, Hng Kiang.

    3) “Another new finding: There are SARS patients who are more infectious

    than others, capable of transmitting the virus to a large group of people.

    In Singapore, three people have been identified as “super infectors”, who

    each spread the killer to about 20 people.”

    4) “World Health Organization (WHO) has listed Beijing and Shanxi in China,

    Hanoi in Vietnam, Toronto in Canada, and Taiwan as areas stricken by the

    severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).”

    5) Doctors in China are incompetent! The 4th person to bring SARS virus

    home to Singapore was treated twice in Beijing as common flu. “The first

    doctor at a hospital in Beijing put her on a drip for a few hours and then

    sent her home, said a colleague.” Two days later, “the second doctor did an

    X-ray of Miss Chong’s lungs and gave her some antibiotics. However, he told

    her that she had the common flu and nothing more.”

    BTW can anybody post the article from Washington Post here? It has expired from the original site.

    Very frustrated,

    Shanghai Knight

    PS:

    Jian Shuo,

    Congratulation on good work on your web site!

  12. Hello

    I think this is a great website specially because it contains updated, straight and useful info by far one of the best about this disease together with the websites of the World Health Org and the CDC’s. I am in Mexico City and I have air tickets to fly to Shanghai and Beijing on April 11th. My friend who was going with me has cancelled and I don’t know whether to go or not on my own. What would you suggest?

  13. here is the new link for the article in Washington Post

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7532-2003Mar21.html

    don’t know what to believe these days. I myself am confused about whether i should make the trip to shanghai next week (12/04). my company posted me to work there for 3 months. hope this link helps anyone looking for any clues. hard to say the reliability of the source but it only goes to show the amount of faith in officials these days. read up and make your own judgements…

  14. Fabricio and Moggiel,

    Be assured till now, Shanghai is still the safe place to go, if not safer than other western cities. People who are out side the city may think it is too scary to imagine a place with dangerous air, water, people….

    Don’t think Shanghai that way please. It is still the great place, I mean till now.

  15. Mainlander,

    Thanks for the updated link. My relatives are also sending us surgical masks. If somebody wearing such mask approaches you, than it will be me…:)

    Jian Shuo,

    You are doing good job on this web site. I also understand your love and fascination with your hometown and great changes happening here. Visitors to Shanghai – and China in general – are either positive or negative about the place, seldom indifferent. If you are here for a week or month as a visitor, than you can even stand oily and tasteless Shanghainese food, stinky water (drink black tea at McDonald’s to get the taste) and air pollution. However if you’ve been living here for 10 years (like me) than some things can get on your nerves. Now I sound negative, but I’m frustrated with the local government covering facts, people completely unaware of the diseases who in large crowds will visit graves of their relatives in few days and will add to spreading the infection.

    While I agree that everybody should make up his mind and decide whether to visit the city or not, I’m not sure how safe – in terms of SARS – Shanghai is.

    A quote from a message I have just received:

    “I am still debating whether to travel to

    > China this summer as the stories here about SAR have

    > gotten worse. The U.S. has offered free flights to

    > their diplomats living in China to fly out of there,

    > especially in Guanzhou.”

    And some news from a friend from Singapore:

    “Good News

    =======

    Doctors in Singapore and Hong Kong are using vaccination prepared from

    anti-bodies of SARS patients who had recovered on critically ill SARS

    patients. It looks promising. While we are waiting for CDC in USA to find a

    cure, It looks like there is some hope.

    Bad News

    =======

    It is confirmed that Fujian, China, is a SARS area. “Three new SARS cases

    were announced on Tuesday, one of them, a new imported case from Fujian,

    China…. The imported case, the 6th in Singapore, is a 56-year-old Chinese

    woman who arrived in Singapore on 16 March to visit her daughter here.” –

    latest from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/sars/ . Australia has its first

    SARS case’; it claims from Singapore.

    In Hong Kong, CDC thinks that the Hong Kong version of SARS may have

    mutated and may now be air-borne!

    The world situation looks pretty bad for China. I think some time in the

    near future, we have to prevent visitors from China and Hong Kong from

    coming in. We think the Singapore Government also has to make a decision to

    shutdown Singapore for some period to quarantine the island! Borders in

    China may be closed until vaccine is sent to China to control the disease.

    Rumour said that SARS actually originated from ShenZhen, the land across

    from Hong Kong. It is a mutated animal virus due to feeding of antibiotics

    by Chinese farmers to chickens, ducks due to bird flu early. WHO also has a

    theory. Read “Livestock likely cause of killer flu” –

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/01/1048962750275.html .”

    Shanghai Knight

  16. Another quote from a message I recieved yesterday from a friend – doctor in HK:

    “my view is that it has entered,

    some news from people working in Shanghai hospitals,[different source from

    Washington post]also quotes 20 plus,

    may be the same rumor,may be not,,,,,but if you really understands it,

    my observation is that airplanes actually have virus in the air al the

    time,not theory but I can detect it,though usually mild,

    if it can be mild that means the system is not useful against airborn or

    droplet,

    and if there is a single virulent one, all are sunk,

    it is so before any SARS occurs,

    the true motto is sunlight,fresh strong wind, whether you have the virus

    or not, the dilution and uv is sufficient for the dilution,drying up and

    killing.

    as eve Beijing have it, there is utterly no reason for Shanghai not to

    have it,

    you should know the typical traditional chinese approach,esp

    Shanghainese,esp when they try to present that they are better than HK,

    to cover up,

    as far as I know the people with authority are already very very cautious

    with masks privately…..

    may be it is not good, but the traditonal habit in all china before open

    up is always to wear a mask when you have flu,so may be you can use this

    ‘old’habit to avoid embarassment…..in stuffy air…

    in all places so far, the hardest strike is when they are not aware of

    it,be it Guangzhou,HK,Hanoi,and even Singapore,if you read the stories

    carefully in detail”.

    Shanghai Knight

  17. I can understand the Chinese government’s eagerness to avoid a panic, but I hope they change their approach soon. SARS patients become incredibly contagious at some point in the illness. The only way to slow SARS’ spread is to identify and isolate carriers. If people in China are not told about the symptoms of the disease and how to protect themselves, what will stop SARS from infecting millions?

    Are those of you in China able to get information about Amoy Gardens in Hong Kong?

  18. Update on SARS – from a friend in Singapore:

    Worried About getting SARS? Take these precautions:

    ===================================================

    (i) Try to keep your hands away from your face.

    (ii) Wash your hand often. If you go out, wash your hand when you reach home.

    (iii) Soap and water are a good defence. Cornaviruses cannot withstand any

    sort of detergent.

    (iv) Alcohol-based hand rubs are effective, too.

    (v) Keep away from crowded areas.

    Latest

    ============

    The Strait Times, Thursday, April 3, 2002

    1. The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday (2 April) made an

    extraordinary call on travellers to stay away from Hong Kong and

    neighbouring Guangdong province.

    2. Thailand yesterday ordered all foreigners from SARS-hit countries to

    wear masks at all times or face a fine of 10,0000 baht (S$417) or up to six

    months in jail.

    3. Toronto worst hit city outside Asia: Six dead.

    4. Taiwan has 14 confirmed cases. 78 suspected cases.

    5. WHO finally gets permission to enter worst-hit province, but SARS

    outbreak is still played down elsewhere in C66hina.

    6. Statistics on China’s SARS death toll:

    Guangdong 46, 9 peole died there last month.

    WHO revealed:

    (i) Three previously undisclosed deaths in Guangxi.

    (ii) Three SARS deaths and 11 cases in Guangxi province.

    (iii) Hunan has seven cases but no deaths.

    (iv) Shanxi, four cases and no deaths.

    (v) Sichuan, three cases and no deaths.

    (vi) Unlike Guangdong, the Shanghai and Beijing authorities have chosen to

    let the issue lie low with barely any information about SARS in the media

    or public health measures firmly put in places. Shanghai authorities

    reported its first suspected case yesterday.

    Bejing Neswpaper reported 12 cases and 3 deaths.

    7. Some people may become ‘super-infector’. Just one person, former

    air-stewardess Esther Mok, started the chain transmission of Sars bug in

    Singapore, infecting a total of 91 people. Singapore has a total of 98

    confirmed Sars cases.

    Statistics (As of Wednesday, April 2; Source: WHO website and AP).

    ===================

    TOP 5 SARS LOCATIONS

    1. China 1,190 cases 46 dead

    2. Hongkong 708 cases 16 dead

    3. Canada 151 cases* 6 dead

    (* includes SARS patients and those who might have caught it)

    4. Singapore 98 cases 4 dead

    5. Vietnam 58 cases 4 dead

    SARS cases have been reported from Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia,

    New Zealand, Britain, Germany, Ireland, France, Romania, Belgium, Italy,

    and the United States.

    Some Good Developments:

    =================================

    1. Singapore is expected to have a test for severe acute respiratory

    syndrome (SARS) ready in about a fortnight, which will allow doctors to

    confirm that victims actually have the virus.

    Singapore General Hospital virologist Ling, Ai Ee said yesterday that the

    diagnostic tests, which are already being used on some suspected SARS

    patients here, are based on bits of DNA that are unque to the conronavirus.

    2. Previously I mentioned about ‘SARS vaccination’, it should read ‘SARS

    serum’.

    In the meanwhile, doctors are still studying if it is possible to use serum

    taken from recovered patients to treat more patients here and whether it

    will work, as well as looking at the Hongkong experience to understand how

    much serum to use and when to use it.

    Shanghai Knight

  19. Shanghai Knight, thanks so much for putting so much useful information on SARS on this board. The 5 precautions are especially helpful – it seems obviously more effective than Ban Lan Gen – the Chinese verben medicine. :-) I believe the readers must thank you for posting too!

  20. Hello! I am a student from B.C., Canada and i’m studying S.A.R.S. as a current events project. I have a few questions. First…… Do you have any idea where the first case originated? Second……. Is it as threatening as people say it to be? I heard that this virus was released for population control which i dont think is true….can you clarify this for me?? Thank-you for the trouble!

  21. Matt, to answer your questions, the first case should start in Guangdong province at the end of 2002. It is far before the name of SARS was given.

    http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20030212_guangzhou_virus_outbreak_pneumoniatype_.htm

    Regarding the second question, I don’t know whether it is as threatening as people say it. You should ask for doctors who really know the details. However, people are actually frightened as they say it.

    It is the first time I heard of the idea of the source of the disease comes from “polutation control”. Should not be true, I think.

  22. does anyone know if Sars is in Xiamen yet? We don’t get anything from the media nor the locals. so far the rumor is that 4 people have died at the University i go to. we would really appreciate official information. thanks

  23. Hi, Jian Shuo:

    To be frank, I was very much scared in the past few weeks when the public knew almost nothing about the threat. Thanks God the Chinese government is going towards the right way, and I do feel much released!

    Thank you for your efforts, so we could have shared info about SARS during the days it was covered up. Believe it or not, I’ve been focusing on SARS for over a month and this webpage has been my harbor during these hard days, I should say. Thank you!

    By the way, on the pictures you posted above, I noted many people used masks improperly. I just worry it might be misleading as traffic at this site is increasing significantly. Can you post a warning such as “mask improperly used! you should…” sign beside the pictures? Again from HK gov’t: http://www.info.gov.hk/dh/diseases/ap/eng/facemask.htm

  24. Mainlander, I have added the warning you mentioned in your comment just not to mislead the reader if there is anything wrong.

    However, would you please point it out what is wrong with the masks in the picture? I just cannot find it. – note: people in the first two pictures were wearing self-made masks.

  25. Firstly, only surgical masks–not the regular kind (filtering nothing but dust) for household use–work (filtering about 85% of virus), and of course N95 is better (95% approx.);

    Secondly, keeping a surgical mask clean is very important–do NOT touch it with your dirty fingers!

    Please check it out in detail–again, from HK:

    http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/sars/mask.htm

  26. Subject: SARS: AND NOW THE GOOD NEWS by Nury Vittachi

    Some observations by Nury Vittachi:

    There is a dangerous virus spreading through Hong Kong.

    It is NOT atypical pneumonia.

    It is panic.

    All outbreaks of any high-profile pathogen or disease (cf the UK’s Mad

    Cow disease) have two major effects.

    A tiny proportion of people are hit by

    the disease itself. A large number of people, organizations and entire

    industry sectors are hit by the panic that accompanies it.

    Yes, you should be careful and take all precautions as advised by your

    medical advisor, but no, you don’t have to panic and flee Hong Kong.

    1. You don’t have to stay at home. At the time of writing (first week

    of April, 2003), more than 99.999% of people in Hong Kong are completely

    free of the SARS virus.

    2. An increase in numbers doesn’t mean people in every apartment block

    have it. The virus’s growth pattern shows a tendency to remain tightly

    clustered – for example in the Prince of Wales Hospital and Amoy

    Gardens.

    3. Ninety-nine people a day die of flu every day in the United States

    alone. Of these 99, about 30 die of acute respiratory problems. In Hong

    Kong, 16 people have died over a month.

    4. In any large city of this size, there are hundreds of pneumonia

    sufferers at any time, of which several dozen have some form of atypical

    pneumonia.

    5. Yes, the virus does mutate. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it

    continually gets more virulent. Scientists note that as SARS spreads, it

    is significantly weakening from carrier to carrier.

    6. The media may call it a killer virus, but the survival rate among

    those hit in these clusters is 96%.

    7. Yes, we all care about our children, but very few kids get it – careful

    examination of lists confirms that victims tend to be elderly people

    with a direct physical link to the clusters.

    8. Contaminated places get clean by themselves. The virus dies without

    a carrier. Some scientists estimate its life as three hours, others say a

    little longer, but all agree it cannot hibernate. In other words, you

    can even check into the Metropole Hotel floor 9 without fear.

    9. The virus is believed to die when the air temperature reaches 27

    degrees C. One hot Hong Kong day could fry all traces of it on exposed

    surfaces.

    10. You can keep your air conditioner on in the office. Ward 8B in the

    Prince of Wales Hospital shares an air conditioning system with the

    infected Ward 8A. But there was not a single infection in 8B.

    11. Many people assume the “growth model” of the virus will follow

    sci-fi movie scenarios. Evidence suggests it is more likely to follow the

    Guangzhou experience, where it spread for a few weeks and then started to

    contract.

    12. The flood of panicky emails from a variety of people, including doctors who should know better, is not helpful. One email doing the rounds is instructing people not to exercise, for example. Panic creates muddleheadedness. Consider the facts above. Hong Kong is our home. Stay

    calm and stay healthy!

    Besides check this:

    http://www.hku.hk/daao/wearewithyou

    And some other info:

    Subject: From HK about SARS: Message from Dr. Justin Wu – Doctor in ward 8A

    Please read the forwarded message very carefully. It is from Dr. Wu who has been managing the SARS in Prince of Wales Hospital for the past few weeks.

    Dear all,

    Hundreds of staff are working with me and they are all facing the same risk of infection. It is really sad that over last 2-week fight 8% of our staff have been infected despite droplet precaution, probably due to pitfalls like air leak on N95 mask, rubbing eyes/nose after touching the mask,

    etc.

    So you can imagine how contagious this virus is! The outbreak in Amoy Garden is not surprising to me because this is exactly what has happened in ward 8A. The only difference is that the number of infectious index cases now in Amoy Garden is 60 times of PWH’s.

    We do believe this infection has wide spectrum of clinical presentation ranging from sorethroat and low grade fever to full blown ARDS/BOOP. We think the clinical presentation depends partly on the dose of inoculum. The ultimate protection against this new virus is our immunity and inevitably all of us will be infected eventually. The purpose of preventive measure is to minimize the dose of virus so as to avoid severe complication.

    Could you please forward these messages to all your friends and relatives and ask them to distribute further?

    1. Always wear a well-fitted mask (N95 or 3 ply surgical) in escalator, bus, MTR, train, office, restaurant and shopping mall. Don’t go to cinema.

    Push the button in the lift using your key to avoid any direct contact with your bare hand. If you can tolerate a latex glove, wear it.

    2. Don’t touch your mask, it traps a lot of droplets.

    3. All the surfaces within a distance of 5 feet from a patient are highly

    infectious because of droplets. Wash your hands frequently. Don’t rub

    your eyes, touch your nose or mouth before washing hands.

    4. Clean the door handles, furnitures and floor with diluted (1 in 100)bleaching detergent. Dettol is NOT useful. Wash your clothes immediately

    after going home.

    5. Patient is highly infectious 2-3 days (in contrast to what EK Yeoh

    said) even before developing illness. Treat those without wearing mask potentially infectious even if they look healthy.

    Shanghai Knight

    PS.Anna, you gave me good laught inquiring for OFFICIAL info about Xiamen… Sorry, couldn’t resist…:)

  27. shanghai knight,

    thanks for all the useful information. i actually printed this page and have given it to some of my friends who have been searching for any information about sars.

    anna

    p.s. should i take that as a compliment? :)

  28. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2917791.stm

    “Experts have also have found more evidence that the bug can be spread easily.

    Five of the 24 Sars cases in the southern Chinese city of Foshan examined so far by a WHO team were caught despite the patient having no obvious contact with an infected person.

    Scientists now believe that, in some cases at least, the “infectious agent”

    involved can be spread either through airborne droplets – or perhaps linger

    on objects such as door handles.”

    Anna,

    Definitively!

    Kind regards,

    Shanghai Knight

  29. Update on SARS:

    Ten percentage of the Sars patients do not have usual symptom of high

    fever. They have DIARRHEA. A lot of people fail to link gastrointestinal

    problem to SARS. Please be aware. See the note on SARS’ Symptoms attached

    below.

    TWENTY nurses and one doctor from Singapore General Hospital have been

    warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital as suspected Sars patients, sparking

    concerns that the containment strategy here may have been breached.See

    http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/topstories/story/0,4386,181567,00.html?

    What The Symptom of SARS

    =================================

    “Most patients start out with a fever greater than 100.4 deg F (38 deg C)

    and often have accompanying chills, headache, malaise, body aches and mild

    respiratory symptoms. In the early stage, many patients have a decreased

    white blood cell count and may also have diarrhea. After 3 to 7 days, the

    patient may develop a dry, non-productive cough that increases in severity.

    As the disease progresses, chest x-rays may show significant congestion in

    the lungs. Eventually not enough oxygen can get to the blood and, in 10 to

    20 percent of cases, patients will require mechanical ventilation. The

    severity of illness among patients is highly variable, ranging from mild

    symptoms to death. Only patients who have traveled within 10 days of the

    onset of symptoms to an area with suspected SARS cases, or have had contact

    with a person suspected of having SARS, are considered possible carriers of

    the disease.” See http://www.msnbc.com/news/894370.asp

    Shanghai Knight

    PS.Anna, I think incubation period is the time from the moment one gets infected until one develops symptoms of the disease, but I could be wrong, I’m not a doctor.FWIW

  30. Anybody really knows what is happening in Xiamen about SARS? How is the situation over there? Some said it is really quiet but some sources said it is not that good and the government is covering up. I need to go to Xiamen in a couple of weeks time and is in need of information. I would rather give up my job than risk my life over the unseen enemy. Thanks!

  31. SHANGHAI KNIGHT: ok… let me get this straight… i may get SARS from someone who doesn’t show any symptoms because he is still in the incubation period?

    WEI SONG: i live in xiamen and let me tell you that no one knows for sure if there have been SARS infected people here. we’ve heard of 2 university students dying but nothing official has been reported. our professors keep telling us that we shouldn’t panic but because the media has been so “hush-hush” about it we have become more paranoid. the locals are still unaware of the real danger of this virus. everyone still spits everywhere and everyone still coughs and sneezes without trying to cover thier mouths. it’s really difficult for me because i have a little baby and yet i have to realize that this is just how it is. i’m still waiting for “OFFICIAL NEWS”. till then i don’t have a choice but to live in fear. as soon as i’m done with my business here, i’m flying out of here and never coming back. unfortunately, many foreigners also feel the way i feel which is bad for China.

    final thought: how could there be no SARS in Xiamen? We’re close to HongKong and the GuanDong Province.

  32. oh… i forgot to mention something…

    2 months ago my baby developed some kind of gastroenteritis. at that time i was unaware that there was this SARS outbreak. I took my baby to Xiamen’s #1 hospital and the Doctor on duty gave him RIBAVIRIN. At that time I was puzzled as to why they would give antibiotics used for Respiratory problems to my child who had gastroenteritis. Just this morning i realized… maybe they thought it was sars. Maybe it was SARS. If so… they didn’t tell me anything. they just gave my baby the medication via drip then asked us to go home. My baby is now ok but what if he didn’t get well. what if something happened to him… who would i balme? shouldn’t they be more transparent to the patients? i get goose bumps everytime i think about what happened.

  33. Anna: I am not a doctor but I know Ribavirin may be used for a wide variety of virus-related deseases. Prescription of ribavirin did not necessarily mean your boy was ill with SARS, or the doctor intentionally held back the facts. However, it is strongly recommended you should consult with your doctor at home before using any drugs prescribed by a Chinese doctor, esp for your boy. In addition, note that injection is Chinese doctors’ favorite but has proved to be extremely dangerous here in China as you might get hepatitis or HIV in this way, even if you use disposable syringes in a seemingly good hospital. See a doctor from your home country or make an IDD call to your own doctor, you will find out the difference.

  34. MAINLANDER: Thanks for the info. i will make sure to do that nextime. yeah… the minute i stepped into that hospital i wasn’t too about what i saw.

    LILI: my classmate says that in yesterday’s paper it has been confirmed that sars is in xiamen. as soon as i get the facts straight i will let you know. i will also find out which paper it was on.

  35. Has anybody watched the press conference after the Finnish man who worked for Int’l Labour Organization died on SARS in Beijing? This was the most ridiculous comedy I had ever seen on CCTV. The man arrived to Beijing on flight from Thailand on March 23rd and got sick five days after. He passed away on April 5th. Chinese health official claimed the person got infected on the plane, but none of the passengers has gone through medical check-up. Moreover nobody from the people who were in close contact with the deceased has been checked or quarantined – as the health official said “we are in close touch with them” – that’s all what they did. BTW the man was not counted in when the info about 12 SARS victims in Beijing was given to WHO officials on April 3rd – although he had all the symptoms starting from March 28th and had to be hospitalized because of respiratory problems on April 2nd.

    BTW my daughter attends one of the local schools and 14 students from one of the classes have recently “caught a flu” – as the teacher told me today. The teacher adviced that my daughter stays at home and “has a rest”.

    This is the first time I’m REALLY disappointed with Chinese media and the way they have been handling the issue since my arrival to this country over 10 years ago.

    More update from my friend in Singapore:

    “SARS situation seems to get worse. Serum may not be working in all cases.

    A patient treated with serum in Singapore is dead.

    As more SARS cases appear, “Malaysia has stopped issuing tourist visas to

    travellers from mainland China in a fresh step to stop the spread of the

    deadly SARS virus.” See

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/37006/1/.html

    Singapore Airlines (SIA) crews will no longer stay overnight in Beijing and

    Shanghai in a bid to minimise exposure to the killer Severe Acute

    Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) virus, the carrier said on Wednesday.

    http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/latest/story/0,4390,182167,00.html?

    “Officials in Hong Kong are estimating there could be 3,000 SARS cases in

    the territory by the end of April.” (Worst case scenario)

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36919/1/.html

    China Health Minister is lying terribly. A Beijing Doctor is so fed up that

    he wrote to journalists about the real situation!

    “A Chinese military doctor has taken the extraordinary step of accusing the

    health minister of covering up the number of people killed or infected in

    Beijing by the deadly flu-like virus.

    Jiang Yanyong said in a letter sent to journalists that six people had died

    of SARS and 60 had been infected at Beijing’s military-run 309 Hospital by

    last Thursday.

    Health Minister Zhang Wenkang told a news conference on that day that

    Beijing had only 12 cases, three of whom died.

    Dr Jiang said he and many other doctors and nurses had been angry when they

    heard Mr Zhang’s statement.

    “A failure to disclose accurate statistics about the illness will only lead

    to more deaths,” Time magazine quoted him as saying.

    Asked to comment on the allegation, a Health Ministry spokesman said

    military hospitals were not under Mr Zhang’s jurisdiction.”

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36992/1/.html

    “Dr Jiang Yanyong, 71, said in a letter sent to journalists that six people

    had died of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and 60 had been

    infected at Beijing’s military-run 309 Hospital by last Thursday.”

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36992/1/.html

    Health officials in China’s southern Guangdong province said the mysterious

    SARS virus could be stopped and could be treated, citing data from the

    province.The advice from China on prevention: “They included ensuring

    proper air circulation in hospitals, requiring nurses and doctors to wear

    12-14 layer gauze protective masks and disinfecting patient rooms three to

    four times a day.” How ridiculous!

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36888/1/.html

    FWIW

    Shanghai Knight

  36. Has anybody watched the press conference after the Finnish man who worked for Int’l Labour Organization died on SARS in Beijing? This was the most ridiculous comedy I had ever seen on CCTV. The man arrived to Beijing on flight from Thailand on March 23rd and got sick five days after. He passed away on April 5th. Chinese health official claimed the person got infected on the plane, but none of the passengers has gone through medical check-up. Moreover nobody from the people who were in close contact with the deceased has been checked or quarantined – as the health official said “we are in close touch with them” – that’s all what they did. BTW the man was not counted in when the info about 12 SARS victims in Beijing was given to WHO officials on April 3rd – although he had all the symptoms starting from March 28th and had to be hospitalized because of respiratory problems on April 2nd.

    BTW my daughter attends one of the local schools and 14 students from one of the classes have recently “caught a flu” – as the teacher told me today. The teacher adviced that my daughter stays at home and “has a rest”.

    This is the first time I’m REALLY disappointed with Chinese media and the way they have been handling the issue since my arrival to this country over 10 years ago.

    More update from my friend in Singapore:

    “SARS situation seems to get worse. Serum may not be working in all cases.

    A patient treated with serum in Singapore is dead.

    As more SARS cases appear, “Malaysia has stopped issuing tourist visas to

    travellers from mainland China in a fresh step to stop the spread of the

    deadly SARS virus.” See

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/37006/1/.html

    Singapore Airlines (SIA) crews will no longer stay overnight in Beijing and

    Shanghai in a bid to minimise exposure to the killer Severe Acute

    Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) virus, the carrier said on Wednesday.

    http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/latest/story/0,4390,182167,00.html?

    “Officials in Hong Kong are estimating there could be 3,000 SARS cases in

    the territory by the end of April.” (Worst case scenario)

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36919/1/.html

    China Health Minister is lying terribly. A Beijing Doctor is so fed up that

    he wrote to journalists about the real situation!

    “A Chinese military doctor has taken the extraordinary step of accusing the

    health minister of covering up the number of people killed or infected in

    Beijing by the deadly flu-like virus.

    Jiang Yanyong said in a letter sent to journalists that six people had died

    of SARS and 60 had been infected at Beijing’s military-run 309 Hospital by

    last Thursday.

    Health Minister Zhang Wenkang told a news conference on that day that

    Beijing had only 12 cases, three of whom died.

    Dr Jiang said he and many other doctors and nurses had been angry when they

    heard Mr Zhang’s statement.

    “A failure to disclose accurate statistics about the illness will only lead

    to more deaths,” Time magazine quoted him as saying.

    Asked to comment on the allegation, a Health Ministry spokesman said

    military hospitals were not under Mr Zhang’s jurisdiction.”

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36992/1/.html

    “Dr Jiang Yanyong, 71, said in a letter sent to journalists that six people

    had died of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and 60 had been

    infected at Beijing’s military-run 309 Hospital by last Thursday.”

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36992/1/.html

    Health officials in China’s southern Guangdong province said the mysterious

    SARS virus could be stopped and could be treated, citing data from the

    province.The advice from China on prevention: “They included ensuring

    proper air circulation in hospitals, requiring nurses and doctors to wear

    12-14 layer gauze protective masks and disinfecting patient rooms three to

    four times a day.” How ridiculous!

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/36888/1/.html

    FWIW

    Shanghai Knight

  37. Hello! I’m from Central America and I need information about Sars in Shanghai.

    Thanks in advance!

    Vivian

  38. Hi..I am just trying to find out where, exactly, in tne U.S. has there been confirmed cases of SARS ? Thank You, Janet, Phoenix Az U.S.A.

  39. Hello!

    I from germany and need informations abaut Sars in Shanhai because i want to go there on april the 23th with my two childs!!

  40. RE SARS in Shanghai. Read on Internet today that there are 9 foreigners in Shanghai ill with the SARS virus and that the U.S. State Dept has confirmed 2 of them are American. If there’s 9 foreigners, how many Chinese??? Also the American consulate today advised that any foreigners or Chinese in China believed to be ill with SARS will be placed in a hospital designated for treating SARS and will have no access to family members, personal physician, or American consulate members. (This could be problematic for foreigners who don’t know much Chinese — how many hospital workers in China speak English?) Furthermore, there is no way of getting air-evacuated out if you’re suspected of having SARs.

  41. vivian… everything you need to know is on this blog… just click on THE SHANGHAI related topics. check out cnn.com as well and china daily. the more you read the better… any info, offical or not, is good.

  42. Anna is right. I am working very hard to deliver all SARS information about Shanghai via this blog. I have created a SARS category at http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/categories/sars.htm

    While I deliver most of the information from my observation of the city – since I am in the city and are highly involved, my readers like Mainlander, Anna, Shanghai Knight, Karp Boonthavi, and many many more people are contributing their information to this board. That is the large resource pool you see now. See the comments they contributed. Some post are of very high standard in writing and contains very helpful information.

    Also, I’d like to recommend http://sarswatch.org. Tim is doing great job to gather all the SARS related information (around the world).

  43. Anna,

    Children can be infected with SARS. I read that in Toronto a 4-year old is infected and in Singapore a toddler is infected. But there is no children fatality so far.

  44. i think we should all take this deseases very sereous cause if the government ain’t doing nothink then we got to do it on our own no matter what the condition may be or if we don’t it maybe our life gone take care

  45. Toni, not sure where you are. But based on what I see everyday, the government is doing very good recently to take precautions. I do think we should take the disease seriously by ourselves no matter what.

  46. Some more new about SARS:

    1. Title: Hong Kong researchers warn SARS virus mutating, hard to fight

    Date:02 May 2003 1859 hrs (SST)

    Researchers in Hong Kong have warned that the SARS virus is mutating fast

    and this could complicate efforts to develop a solid diagnosis and a vaccine.

    Doctors at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said they have completed

    genetic sequencing on virus samples taken from 11 SARS patients and that

    they found two forms of the illness in Hong Kong.

    “We have shown that the SARS coronavirus is undergoing rapid evolution in

    our population,” said Dr Dennis Lo, a chemical pathologist at the university.

    “This rapid evolution is like that of a murderer who is trying to change

    his fingerprints or even his appearance to try to escape detection.”

    One strain was detected in a woman whose illness was linked to an outbreak

    caused by a sick medical professor from China who spread SARS to other

    people at a hotel in Hong Kong, Dr Lo said.

    The other came from a Hong Kong man believed to have caught it in the

    border city of Shenzhen.

    Dr Lo said researchers need to find out whether people who get SARS can

    develop immunity to any form of it.

    If that is not the case, then finding ways to better diagnose it and to

    develop a vaccine could be more difficult, Dr Lo said.

    More work needs to be done before researchers can say whether the virus has

    become more infectious and lethal, he added.

    Meanwhile Hong Kong on Friday reported eight more SARS deaths and another

    11 infections, bringing the local deaths to 170 and the total cases to 1,611.

    44 patients were discharged on Friday, bringing the total number of

    discharged to 878, said a Hospital Authority spokesman.

    2. Sars less serious for children

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2984331.stm

    The deadly virus Sars may have a less serious effect on young children

    compared with teenagers and adults, research suggests.

    A team from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have come to the

    preliminary conclusion after studying the first 10 children with Sars who

    received treatment during the early phase of the epidemic in Hong Kong.

    Five were teenagers, and five pre-teen. The youngest was just 18 months old.

    Our preliminary observations suggest that younger children possibly develop

    a milder form of disease and tend to run a less aggressive clinical course

    Professor Tai Fai Fok

    There have been no childhood deaths from Sars up to 25 April.

    The researchers found that teenage patients presented with symptoms similar

    to adult cases.

    All the teenagers examined by the researchers had respiratory symptoms that

    were so severe that they had to be given oxygen.

    Other symptoms included muscle ache, shivers and difficulty with breathing.

    However, younger children had much more mild symptoms such as a cough and

    runny nose.

    And unlike the older patients, none of the younger children had shivers or

    muscle pains.

    They also regained full health much more quickly.

    Lead researcher Professor Tai Fai Fok said: “Our preliminary observations

    suggest that younger children possibly develop a milder form of disease and

    tend to run a less aggressive clinical course.”

    Professor Fok said the reason why younger children seemed to be less

    affected was unclear.

    However, he said it was possible that they were protected by antibodies

    produced by their immune system to fight previous infections which tend to

    be more common in childhood.

    These antibodies gradually disappear as the child gets older and remains

    infection-free.

    “Another, more likely, explanation is that it seems that in adults much of

    the lung damage associated with Sars is due to the reaction of the immune

    system to the infection.

    “In younger children this reaction may not be as vigorous as in adults

    because their immune system is still developing.”

    The research is published on the website of The Lancet medical journal.

    3. doctors have said that even those who recovered from Sars might have

    long-term or even permanent lung damage.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2969247.stm

    Hong Kong

    Deaths: 162 (170)

    Has been at the heart of the worldwide Sars outbreak and has introduced

    tough measures, including the quarantining of an entire housing block to

    try to stop the spread.

    Travellers and businesspeople have been advised to stay away and most

    residents wear masks when they leave their homes.

    US scientists have questioned the efficacy of a Ribavirin and steroid

    combination used by Hong Kong doctors to treat Sars patients. Meanwhile,

    doctors have said that even those who recovered from Sars might have

    long-term or even permanent lung damage.

    The economy has also been hit hard and Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has

    announced a $1.5bn package to help local businesses.

    4. Title: Singapore’s SARS diagnostic kit to be ready in 3-4 weeks: Dr Ling

    Date:01 May 2003 0007 hrs (SST)

    A Singapore virologist has said that Singapore may very soon have its own

    diagnostic kit that will help detect the SARS disease in its early stages.

    In an interview on the Channel NewsAsia programme, In Conversation, Dr Ling

    Ai Ee explained why the kit is important, even though the cases may be

    winding down in Singapore.

    “It will take another three to four weeks. The Genome Institute of

    Singapore is close to completing a kit. Well, when I say a kit, it’s more

    like a test. We already have one test, but they are trying to improve it to

    move it to a ultimatum platform,” she said.

    Would a diagnostic kit coming in three weeks be superfluous?

    Dr Ling, who heads Singapore’s SARS investigation team, said: “Certainly

    not. In fact, it would be more important that we have a valid kit, which is

    a sensitive kit.

    “Even if we turn the corner, it doesn’t mean the whole world has turned the

    corner.

    “Also, we don’t know if we are ever going to get a re-introduction of this

    virus.

    “We don’t know many many things, so there’re many reasons why it will

    resurface and then we have to be ready for it.”

    You can catch the full interview with Dr Ling on “In Conversation” on

    Channel NewsAsia at 8pm on Thursday.

    Kind regards,

    Shanghai Knight

  47. i think it is deverstating the way people are dyeing and that there is no cure for this! i just feel for the people who have caught this virus[desease]and for the families!

  48. i am from india.my sis is going to usa by singapore airlines . there is a 3 hours break in singapore . i am very scared that she might get infected in that 3 hour break or in the airplane. do i really need to fear?

  49. Hii,

    how are u doing? saw ur site. Wanted to say Hii; and that u are doing a good job. keep it up.

    What are u doing today? Do sth Nice. Sth +ve.

    Copy/paste.. send to smb….

    Apologize if this mail causes any form of inconvenience to u.

    Take Care.

    Be Very Law Abiding.

    Best Regards

    Austin.

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