Emergencies preparedness, response

Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN)

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Operational Update

25 March 2003

WHO wishes to acknowledge the collaboration and coordination among partners in responding to this outbreak at all levels. Technical institutions at national level are supporting WHO in identifying suspected cases rapidly and ensuring information is disseminated as quickly as possible. In keeping with the spirit of the Guiding Principles for International Outbreak Alert and Response, partners have worked closely to ensure that appropriate experts reach the field in the least possible time to carry out coordinated outbreak control activities, in support of national authorities.

Beijng, China

An international team of experts in epidemiology, microbiology/virology, and respiratory diseases from GOARN partners arrived in Bejing, China on 23 March, 2003 to work with the Ministry of Health. The international team includes experts from:

  • Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, United States
  • Centre for Health and Population Research (ICDDRB), Bangladesh
  • Public Health Laboratory Service, United Kingdom
  • Robert Koch Institute, Germany.

This team is working with the Ministry of Health to review available epidemiological and laboratory data and to propose what additional investigations could be carried out to further understand the outbreak of atypical pneumonia in Guangdong Province, China.

Hanoi, Viet Nam

A WHO/GOARN international team of epidemiologists, case management, infection control experts and laboratory experts is assisting the Vietnamese health authorities. The team arrived in Hanoi on 14 March, 2003. The following partners are contributing personnel and materials to the Hanoi team:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, United States
  • Centre of International Health, Australia
  • Central Field Epidemiology Group - Smittskyddsinstitutet (SMI), Sweden
  • Epicentre, Institut National de Veille Sanitaire, France
  • Institut Pasteur, France and Viet Nam
  • Médecins Sans Frontières
  • National Health Service, Department of Health, United Kingdom
  • Robert Koch Institute, Germany.

France and Japan are also providing bilateral assistance.

Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China (SAR)

WHO/GOARN international team is assisting the Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR in efforts to conduct studies and activities needed to understand the epidemiology of SARS, including assembling descriptive epidemiological data, and developing and implementing analytic epidemiological studies.

The WHO/GOARN team is also providing support to the Department of Health in efforts to control and prevent the spread of SARS in Hong Kong and to facilitate communications and collaborative activities related to SARS between Hong Kong and WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. GOARN partners in the field include:

  • Australian Field Epidemiology Training Program
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, United States
  • National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan.

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