Newsletter No. 223

CUH K Invite d t oFormulat e Hygien e Charter s fo r Hon g Kon g A t the invitation of Operation UNITE, the Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion o f th e University' s Schoo l o f Public Healt h w i ll dra w u p hygiene charter s for differen t social , business , an d industr y sectors i n Hon g Kong , w i t h th e ai m o f promoting concept s an d practices o f hygien e at the personal, family, and community levels . The Hygien e Charte r i s a communit y initiative to encourage individuals and different business an d industry sector s t o pledge thei r commitment t o creat e a ne w cultur e o f emphasizing hygien e an d adopting hygieni c practices i n their day-to-da y operations . Th e University has , upon the request of Operatio n UN I TE, undertake n t o se t basi c hygien e standards and to propose good practices for 1 2 different group s an d industries, whose activ e participation an d pledge o f complianc e ar e called fo r i n orde r t o brin g abou t a n overal l improvement i n public health and hygiene, and to restore community and overseas confidence. The charter forms part of Operation UNITE' s action-oriented campaig n t o dra w th e community togethe r in the fight against SARS . The 1 2 sectors ar e personal an d family , management, buildings , catering , education , finance an d commercial, industrial , medica l and health , publi c transportation , socia l welfare, sport s and culture, and tourism. Th e Centre fo r Healt h Educatio n an d Healt h Promotion i s also responsible fo r registratio n and the issuance of certificates to participating organizations. Hygiene Charte r fo r Hon g Kon g — Taking Hygien e t o Ne w Level s was launche d b y Operation UNITE on 13th May 2003 at the Wan Chai Convention and Exhibition Centre. Officiating guests included Mrs. Betty Tung (left 2 ), wife of HKSAR Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa , Mrs . Rit a Fa n (right 1 ), president o f the Legislativ e Council , Prof . Sydney Chung (right 2), dean of the CUHK Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Rosanna Wong (left1 ), convener of Operation UNITE. Research Model for the SARS Epidemic Constructed A research model for the SARS epidemi c in Hong Kong was constructed by Prof . Wong Tz e Wa i an d Dr . L i u Hongji e o f th e University's Departmen t o f Communit y an d Family Medicin e an d Dr. Jame s Derric k o f the Prince o f Wales Hospital. Th e model ca n be use d t o explai n th e natura l cours e o f a n epidemic — th e relationshi p betwee n th e infected, susceptible and immune populations , and ho w th e natura l progressio n o f a n epidemic i s affecte d by effectiv e an d timel y public healt h measures. The model also helps to predict the likelihood o f the resurgence o f SARS i n the community . Major finding s o f th e SAR S epidemi c model include : • I f the epidemic i s allowed to die down by itself, a significan t proportio n o f th e population w i l l hav e t o fal l victi m t o SARS, for only through this can sufficient herd immunity be acquired to protect the community fro m furthe r epidemics . • A n epidemic will die down only when the basic reproductiv e numbe r (numbe r o f people infecte d by a patient) i s les s tha n one. Thi s ca n be achieve d i n tw o way s 一 whe n her d immunit y i s hig h enoug h (natural cours e o f events) , o r whe n effective public healt h measures limit the spread o f th e epidemic . Hon g Kong' s current basic reproductive numbe r i s less than one . SARS Leads to Mood Disorders, Survey Finds A large scal e telephone surve y conducte d by th e University's Hon g Kon g Mood Disorder s Centr e fro m 2n d t o 5t h Ma y reveale d tha t th e SAR S outbreak continued to arouse massive anxiety in Hong Kong. 1,25 0 respondents aged 15 or above were randomly selecte d and interviewed. For the survey, mood disorder wa s define d a s the persisten t presenc e o f a t leas t fou r physica l an d emotional symptom s i n th e previou s fou r week s tha t wer e associate d wit h significant distres s or impairmen t o f social functioning . The survey showed that 1 9 per cent of the respondents suffered from moo d disorders an d tha t th e rat e wa s 2. 5 time s highe r amon g femal e tha n mal e respondents. Housewive s wer e foun d t o b e th e mos t vulnerabl e t o suc h disorders. Sixty-eigh t pe r cen t o f the respondents reporte d persistent worrie s about themselve s o r thei r famil y member s becomin g infected . Th e ris k o f infecting others , incurability/death , an d adverse effec t o n job o r income wer e the mos t commo n reason s fo r fearin g th e illness . Th e surve y als o foun d tha t SARS cause d more sever e psychological impac t on those with mood disorder s than thos e without . Yet , despit e this , onl y 2 0 pe r cen t o f the m sough t professional help . About a quarter of the respondents who learn t that their friends , neighbour s or workers i n the same building wer e infected with SAR S suffere d from moo d disorder 一 a rate significantly highe r than that of respondents who di d not have such contact. 74.7 per cent of them feared contracting SARS. They also developed tension o r inabilit y t o rela x (27. 9 pe r cent) , slep t poorl y (21. 4 pe r cent) , an d could not concentrat e properly (18. 8 per cent) . The survey' s finding s suggeste d that the SAR S outbrea k i s likel y t o hav e worsened the mental health of Hong Kong people. According to the Hong Kon g Mood Disorder s Centre , the sufferin g an d productivity dro p cause d by moo d disorders ca n las t wel l afte r th e epidemi c i s over . Th e centr e thu s call s fo r heightened awarenes s of mood disorders an d greater acces s to treatment by th e public a s matters o f urgency . Friends and Alumni Remembers SARS Doctor A memorial servic e wa s hel d b y th e CUH K Medica l A l umn i Association on 18t h May 2003 at the Chung Chi Chapel to pay tribute to Dr . Tse Yuen-man. Dr. Tse, a Christian, was a 1992 medical graduat e o f United College . She joined Tue n Mu n Hospita l afte r graduatio n an d wa s a specialis t respiratory physician by training. Soon after the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong, she volunteered to work in the SARS ward and contracted the disease while lookin g afte r her patients. Sh e passed away o n 13t h May 2003 . Officiating a t the servic e wa s th e Rev . Dr . Andrew Ng , Chaplai n o f Chung Chi College. Psalms were sung by Dr. Tse's former classmate s an d friends, 199 2 medical graduates of the University. Eulogies were delivere d by Prof . Ambrose King , vice-chancello r o f the University, Prof . Sydne y Chung, dean of medicine, Dr. Lai Kei-wai, adjunct professor of the CUH K Department o f Medicine an d Therapeutics, an d representatives f r o m Tue n Mu n Hospital an d the Princ e o f Wale s Ho s p i t a l. Som e 50 0 peop l e attended, amon g whom wa s Prof . Arthur K.C . Li , Secretar y fo r Education an d Manpower , former teache r o f Dr . Tse a t th e C U H K Medical School . No. 223 4th June 2003