Views: 2420|Replies: 16

South Korea Can Take a Page from China's SARS Containment Strategy [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2015-6-15 13:49:57 |Display all floors

It is sobering to read how a technologically and medically advanced Asian country, such as South Korea, could be stymied and grounded by a common cold virus, beginning with the first case it ever had on May 20, 2015, that doubled in the last one week to 150 cases, of whom 16 have died as a result.

Way back in 2002, when China grappled with SARS, it was in worse shape, as Western infectious disease specialists LAUGHED at Chinese men, women and children wearing home-made cloth masks, claiming that the virus was "airborne" and too small to be blocked by the crude masks, when in reality, the virus was NOT AIRBORNE, but DROPLET-BOUND, and tended to travel no farther than 6 feet from the infected person, unless he sneezes or coughs vigorously.  One of the countries that sneered the most was, surprisingly, highly Westernized and modern Singapore, that had one of the worst cases of hospital-based infections, whose sad history reminds us of what is now happening to South Korea.  They eventually wore masks like the Chinese did.  And thus, in fact, Chinese common sense won the day, and today, these same Western "experts" recommend people wear "surgical masks" that are two to three paper-layers thick, when in China, mothers made cloth masks that were six-layers thick.  So, the first lesson is, Koreans should make their own 6-layer thick cotton cloth masks that cover their nose from the root of the nose all the way down to below their chin, and are wide enough to cover their face, from ear to ear.  Listen to your mothers' instincts, they were right for millions of years, before there were "experts" teaching them how to take care of their young.  But face masks are just one barrier to the spread of this common cold virus made virulent by their having been "wild" in the bodies of bats, and then camels, and finally, human beings.

China built overnight huge, I mean huge, sanitariums for those who were exposed to potentially infected persons, and thus had to be quarantined for the duration of the incubation period of the virus, which is about 3 weeks, preferably 4 weeks.  These patients were grateful for free medical care, free housing, and free food, plus free nursing care when needed.  Their families were thankful that their loved ones could be cared for without their personal involvement, and risk of being infected in turn, or dying.  Their neighbors, fellow students, fellow workers, and associates from all walks of life were grateful that their friends and loved ones could be cared for professionally, while they were protected from exposure to them.  Yes, the current hospitals are simply inadequate to house quarantined victims, who require a very different type of care than regular patients.

And, despite the predictions of Western experts that China would lose the fight against SARS because there was, and still is, no effective vaccine against it, China won.

But beyond these public health measures, China also contributed its scientific skills to the understanding of this virus, and the Chinese CDC published several papers discussing how this virus is susceptible to deactivation by UV-A ultraviolent light for only about 15 minutes, to high temperatures of around 60 degrees Centigrade for 60 hours (2.5 days) to 120 hours (5 days), and that UV is more effective in humid environments, while heat is more effective in dry environments, but basically saying that the virus remains dangerous in the environment for only about 5 days before it denatures naturally.  Armed with these facts, it is surprising that South Koreans are not deploying their superior technological skills in manufacturing UV-A lights to sterilize their air ducts preferably, and also around doorways and corridors.  And if they can calculate the speed by which air can travel in a corridor in terms of meters per minute, they can calculate how many meters of such a corridor should be fitted with UV lights, at what distances from the center of the air flow, to sanitize the hospitals that were tainted with these viruses.  Thankfully, the virus has remained confined to their hospitals, and possibly some halls (used by their legislators of all things for public meetings about the virus).  Since humidity increases the infectivity of the virus particles, they should have dehumidifiers, instead of humidifiers in the common areas of these hospitals.  Since cold protects the virus from sterilization, cold temperatures should be limited only to rooms certified free of the virus, and all other areas should not be cold-air-conditioned.  Since the soil is better than metal in deactivating the virus, encouragement of air coming from the outside lawns would reduce the chance of re-infection within the buildings.  Unfortunately, gluteraldehye is less effective than formaldehyde, and therefore fumigation with the former is less likely to eradicate the problem, while the latter is simply too toxic to even think of using.  No humidifier.  No air-conditioner.  Whew!!!  Unless the room is certified virus free, then it is OK.  But everyone entering such an area must be screened, no colds, no coughs, and no nasal or throat congestions.  Can MERS be contained?  Of course.  

If China can contain SARS, there is no reason South Korea cannot contain MERS.  There should be more reliance on common sense public health measures, and less reliance on the opinions of Western so-called "experts", because if China had blindly waited for the vaccine to be made, it would have been overwhelmed by the SARS epidemic with probably tens if not hundreds of millions of people infected by it.  Start with good, thick, wide and deep face masks, not the tiny token fig leafs over your nose and mouth that a determined fly can get through without any problem.  Wash your hands, and remember, people sneeze and cough and their droplets eventually end on the ground, so it would be reasonable to keep your shoes and sandals outside your homes, preferably on a hot surface because heat kills the germs, or exposed to UV-A, or maybe, as some Chinese familied did, step them into vinegar solutions before letting them dry in the air.  Right now, MERS is confined to Korea's hospitals, unlike SARS that had spread to the community.  Apply real science and use common sense, but above all, don't wait for "advanced" Western science to tell you what to do, because waiting is the worst option, unless it is to wait for at least 5 days before entering a place that had been reported to have a MERS case before.  But without other sanitizing measures, waiting 5 days is probably not enough to eradicate the epidemic, even if it may slow down its spread.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2015-6-15 15:24:29 |Display all floors
South Korea's handling of the MERS epidemic is a shame! The health minister odd to be sacked for not taking the threat of this disease seriously when it landed in Korea.  He even admitted at a press conference that he at first didn't think it was serious. How wrong of him!
And for his misjudgement, the Koreans suffer healthwise and economically too! And that is not all, China also suffers, with Koreans bringing the disease to China when there was none before! And now the Chinese can't even holiday in Korea with peace of mind, and Korea used to be their favorite destination!
It is hard to forgive the Koreans for bringing MERS to Asia, when previously it was confined to the Middle East! And right next door to China too! Disgusting!

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2015-6-15 17:55:35 |Display all floors
This post was edited by abramicus at 2015-6-15 18:04
pnp Post time: 2015-6-15 15:24
South Korea's handling of the MERS epidemic is a shame! The health minister odd to be sacked for not ...


First of all, South Korea never suspected it would be targeted with MERS.  Just the fact that one of its citizens visiting Saudi Arabia contracted the disease without knowing it, and spreading it to several hospitals seeking help from various physicians is an unlikely event.  Why not other countries with more citizens working in Saudi Arabia than the tiny contingent of South Korean community?  This was simply an unlikely event.

Secondly, it did not expect a cold virus to be so virulent in nature.  There simply had never been.  Not even SARS-CoV has ever been proven to NOT be laboratory-engineered.

Thirdly, while the virus may have come from a camel in a lab or in a stable, it clearly had a far greater propensity to spread among human beings, far in excess of what natural selection would have produced.  The cases doubled in one week, last week.

Only now did they realize where the "camel" is in South Korea that is harboring the virus.

The "camel" is actually the environment, the walls, the carpet, the tiles, the furniture, the curtains, the faucets, the toilets, etc., that serves as "host" to the virus for up to 5 days at least.  Now, this too is very unusual.  How can so many mutations occur in such a short time in nature to adapt the virus to humans, to the fixtures and flooring of homes and hospitals, and actually spread faster in human beings than in real camels?

But there is no need to despair.

Once South Korea learns to focus on the "camel" of tiles, walls, furniture, clothing, draperies, toilets, etc., and systematically sterilize this kind of "camel", it would have broken the chain of propagation of this virus, that uses the artificial environment of man-made homes and rooms as its "reservoir".

In fact, South Korea, armed with this knowledge of what "camel" means in South Korea, can effectively corner this virus by locking out every single "camel" known to have been exposed to the virus, and systematically expose it to UV-A, dry dehumidified air, elevated temperatures, and disinfectants, and the epidemic can be over in as short as 5 days, give and take another 5 days for a second round of going through, and other 5 days to be sure, or two weeks.

We can let the geneticists figure out how the bat virus became adapted to the camel, since these two species are very different, and how the camel virus learned to infect humans, which are also biologically very different, and finally, how the virus no longer needed to return to its natural reservoir of live camels, and now can survive for 5 days at least in a new kind of "camel", an environment consisting of man-made materials, from metals, to wood, to plastics, to textiles, but die quickly in the natural environment of soil and sunshine instead.  How can a natural virus be so adapted to unnatural environments?  Three very different living species it called home, and finally, a reservoir of a non-living, man-made environment.  The virus must be an acrobat of sorts.  We need ask no further.  It is not a product of "natural" selection, but of "unnatural" selection.

Cannot blame the South Korean health minister for not anticipating the rise of unnatural viruses, but now, South Korea knows their special characteristics - they thrive in the environment of man-made materials and from there, re-infect human beings who live or work in them - time to quarantine them "camels" and sterilize them for good.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2015-6-15 21:50:47 |Display all floors

Taiwan played the first rule during SARS crisis, while Beijing clique was hidding information, more worry to protect his power than worry for peoples dying...

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2015-6-16 14:34:44 |Display all floors
yasawakic Post time: 2015-6-15 21:50

Taiwan played the first rule during SARS crisis, while Beijing clique was hidding informati ...

The victimized countries have nothing to hide, especially when they did not realize what hit them.  It is the countries accusing them of hiding things, who betray the fact that they were prepared in advance to pry the victimized countries of the data showing if their attack had succeeded or failed, or how it could be augmented.  It is too obvious that the accusers were insiders, and the victims were the outsiders, in this blame game.

Use magic tools Report

2018 Most Popular Member 2018 Most Popular Member 2016 Most Popular Member Medal Gold Medal

Post time 2015-6-16 22:19:06 |Display all floors
Reminder: Author is prohibited or removed, and content is automatically blocked

Use magic tools Report

2018 Most Popular Member 2018 Most Popular Member 2016 Most Popular Member Medal Gold Medal

Post time 2015-6-16 22:20:24 |Display all floors
Reminder: Author is prohibited or removed, and content is automatically blocked

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email:
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.