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Legacy of SARS in Asia Can Offer Lessons To Current Ebola Fight

Update Date: Nov 02, 2014 06:56 PM EST

The SARS outbreak of 2003 had put Hong Kong on the frontline of global health crisis, but the city handled it successfully and that handling could offer lessons for those now battling Ebola. 

The 2003 SARS outbreak affected 1,800 people and took 299 lives in the southern Chinese city. The outbreak caused panic all around and emptied busy streets and restaurants. 

However, the authorities took swift moves that quarantined at-risk residents and brought the outbreak under control.

Even today, the legacy of SARS can be seen every day in the city like with residents putting surgical masks and signs next to elevator buttons that boast of hourly sterilization. 

"All this came about after SARS," said Nelson Lee, head of infectious diseases at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in a press release.

"At the time of SARS, Hong Kong had no isolation facilities, or very few-and in general, the medical profession was not aware of the importance of infectious diseases. We have come a long way."

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