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      SARS-related Perceptions in Hong Kong


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          To understand different aspects of community responses related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), 2 population-based, random telephone surveys were conducted in June 2003 and January 2004 in Hong Kong. More than 70% of respondents would avoid visiting hospitals or mainland China to avoid contracting SARS. Most respondents believed that SARS could be transmitted through droplets, fomites, sewage, and animals. More than 90% believed that public health measures were efficacious means of prevention; 40.4% believed that SARS would resurge in Hong Kong; and ≈70% would then wear masks in public places. High percentages of respondents felt helpless, horrified, and apprehensive because of SARS. Approximately 16% showed signs of posttraumatic symptoms, and ≈40% perceived increased stress in family or work settings. The general public in Hong Kong has been very vigilant about SARS but needs to be more psychologically prepared to face a resurgence of the epidemic.

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          Most cited references20

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          Isolation and characterization of viruses related to the SARS coronavirus from animals in southern China.

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          A novel coronavirus (SCoV) is the etiological agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SCoV-like viruses were isolated from Himalayan palm civets found in a live-animal market in Guangdong, China. Evidence of virus infection was also detected in other animals (including a raccoon dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides) and in humans working at the same market. All the animal isolates retain a 29-nucleotide sequence that is not found in most human isolates. The detection of SCoV-like viruses in small, live wild mammals in a retail market indicates a route of interspecies transmission, although the natural reservoir is not known.
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            Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

            The scope of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was unprecedented in the United States. We assessed the prevalence and correlates of acute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among residents of Manhattan five to eight weeks after the attacks. We used random-digit dialing to contact a representative sample of adults living south of 110th Street in Manhattan. Participants were asked about demographic characteristics, exposure to the events of September 11, and psychological symptoms after the attacks. Among 1008 adults interviewed, 7.5 percent reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of current PTSD related to the attacks, and 9.7 percent reported symptoms consistent with current depression (with "current" defined as occurring within the previous 30 days). Among respondents who lived south of Canal Street (i.e., near the World Trade Center), the prevalence of PTSD was 20.0 percent. Predictors of PTSD in a multivariate model were Hispanic ethnicity, two or more prior stressors, a panic attack during or shortly after the events, residence south of Canal Street, and loss of possessions due to the events. Predictors of depression were Hispanic ethnicity, two or more prior stressors, a panic attack, a low level of social support, the death of a friend or relative during the attacks, and loss of a job due to the attacks. There was a substantial burden of acute PTSD and depression in Manhattan after the September 11 attacks. Experiences involving exposure to the attacks were predictors of current PTSD, and losses as a result of the events were predictors of current depression. In the aftermath of terrorist attacks, there may be substantial psychological morbidity in the population.
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              Psychological effects of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong on high-risk health care workers.

              To quantify stress and the psychological impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on high-risk health care workers (HCWs). We evaluated 271 HCWs from SARS units and 342 healthy control subjects, using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) to assess stress levels and a structured list of putative psychological effects of SARS to assess its psychological effects. Healthy control subjects were balanced for age, sex, education, parenthood, living circumstances, and lack of health care experience. Stress levels were raised in both groups (PSS = 18) but were not relatively increased in the HCWs. HCWs reported significantly more positive (94%, n = 256) and more negative psychological effects (89%, n = 241) from SARS than did control subjects. HCWs declared confidence in infection-control measures. In HCWs, adaptive responses to stress and the positive effects of infection control training may be protective in future outbreaks. Elevated stress in the population may be an important indicator of future psychiatric morbidity.

                Author and article information

                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                March 2005
                : 11
                : 3
                : 417-424
                [* ]The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Joseph T.F. Lau, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 5/F, School of Public Health, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong; fax: 852- 2645-3098; email: jlau@ 123456cuhk.edu.hk

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                perceptions,chinese,community responses,mental health,sars,hong kong
                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                perceptions, chinese, community responses, mental health, sars, hong kong


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