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Emory's Jeffrey Koplan joins Hong Kong SARS expert committee in report to government

Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, vice president for academic health affairs at Emory University, is one of 11 international public health experts who reported today to the Hong Kong government on lessons learned from that country's SARS outbreak. The SARS Expert Committee was commissioned last May to review the management and control of the epidemic and to identify lessons to be learned to better prepare Hong Kong for any future outbreaks.

The committee includes renowned experts from Hong Kong, Mainland China, the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, selected for their wide range of relevant experience. Dr. Koplan, who is former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, are the only two U.S. members on the committee.

"This report is not only valuable for the Hong Kong government and public health community for managing and controlling future outbreaks, it also contains many valuable lessons for the United States and the entire international community," Dr. Koplan said. "Our experience with SARS certainly helped us more clearly identify many of the challenges we will face in future outbreaks and better prepare ourselves to face these difficulties efficiently."

Although the SARS Expert Committee Report to the Government of Hong Kong concluded that Hong Kong handled the SARS epidemic well in many respects, it also noted significant shortcomings in the country's health system during the epidemic's early stages, when little was known about the disease and when health workers themselves became ill.

"All nations, particularly in this age of easy and frequent global travel, are vulnerable to the formidable threats of emerging infectious diseases," Dr. Koplan warns. "We can be assured that either SARS or another equally vicious disease will present itself in
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University Health Sciences Center
3-Oct-2003


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