Message from the President, Prof. Raymond Liang, Summer 2009
We all remembered very well the horror of SARS. The devastating event happened six years ago produced a great disruption to our economy and a sudden turbulence in our health care service. It took away many valuable lives including our three distinguished Fellows and one trainee: Dr James Lau, Dr Joanna Tse, Dr Thomas Cheung, and Dr Kate Cheng. They are outstanding role models of our noble medical profession and are forever remembered.
SARS was a valuable lesson. The disaster of SARS has brought the people of Hong Kong and the medical profession together. We fought the battle, supported each other and made Hong Kong our pride. It was a good example of favourable interaction between the art and science of medicine.
Our new threat today is the ‘Human Swine Influenza’ (Influenza A, H1N1). Although the disease is probably quite contagious, it may be not as fatal. We must remain cautious. The lesson we learnt from SARS should be remembered. Our Government is indeed reacting more promptly this time. Some may argue that we are over-reacting but I believe it is appropriate. We need to be on high alert. The rapid test, the antiviral drugs and the vaccine are all very useful, but more importantly, we need a wellplanned strategy and a caring attitude to fight this new battle. WHO has escalated its global alert to the highest level—grade six. At the time of writing, the number of reported cases worldwide is approaching 30 000. There is also more than a hundred confirmed cases in Hong Kong, including many local infections. The actual number of cases is probably many times more and is escalating. The infection is transmitting widely within some communities. Although the disease is not very virulent at this point in time, we are being warned that we must remain vigilant. This advice must be taken seriously. No one can predict precisely the next move of the virus. We certainly need to be well prepared for the worse and at the same time hope for the best.
Professor Raymond Liang