Taiwan SARS Experience and the Challenge for Future Outbreak of H5N1 Influenza

Ih-Jen Su

2008 Vol.24 NO.4

Correspondence Author: Ih-Jen Su


Taiwan suffered severely from the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. The lack of experience, poor coordination of commanding system, inadequate scientific capability, poor infection control together account for the final outcome of SARS 2003. The lessons learned from SARS, however, drive Taiwan to prepare for the coming outbreak of H5N1 pandemic influenza and other emerging infectious diseases. Several control measures were activated in the post-SARS period including central command and governance structure re-organization, improved scientific capability and laboratory diagnostics, surveillance and real-time reporting, law revision and enforcement. Furthermore, the government implemented a policy to self-manufacture anti-virals and vaccine for influenza and H5N1. The above measures proved to be effective for the control of dengue infection, seasonal influenza, and enteroviruses in the post-SARS period. The measure most worthwhile to share with the world is the stockpile of 2.3 million pills of of anti-virals-Tamiflu on February 2004. The control policy of ILI illness by antivirals proves to be effective in institutional outbreaks of seasonal influenza. This strategy can be applied to the control of H5N1 pandemic flu. Taiwan paid the painful price for SARS and we should benefit from the lessons in the coming outbreak of H5N1 influenza.