A Hong Kong doctor who helped to identify the SARS virus ten years ago urges vigilance against a new SARS-like disease that has since killed nine people.
Ten years ago on March 15th, SARS - severe acute respiratory syndrome - came into public consciousness.
The 10th anniversary of the global outbreak that infected some 8,000 people in over two dozen countries and took 774 lives coincides with the arrival of a similar lethal virus that has also made headlines.
Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, the chair of infectious diseases at Hong Kong University's department of microbiology, helped to identify the SARS virus back in 2003.
He is currently doing research with samples of novel coronavirus, from the same family of viruses that caused SARS and common colds.
The new virus can easily infect many types of animal cells, which means the possibility of it mutating and infecting humans is also strong.
"As have (has) been demonstrated in the case of SARS, the virus actually mutated very rapidly. Within actually a few months, the virus changed very rapidly and can adapt to very different situations in terms of animal hosts and in terms of transmissibility. So I think it is very important that we should be vigilant, but not worrying or panicking. That is not going to help," Yuen said.
In Hong Kong, where SARS killed 299 people and triggered an evacuation of a residential building and suspension of schools, the city remembers the battle a decade ago while the survivors continue to fight its after-effects.
Cathy Kong, a high school teacher who recovered from SARS, lived with her elderly mother at a heavily infected residential building, Amoy Gardens that was temporarily evacuated in 2003. She wrote a book to share her experience.
The mathematics teacher said her physical strength has now recovered by about 80 percent. It took her two years to fight post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recalling the past might hurt, but Kong says instead of fighting the past she wanted to accept and embrace it.
Presented by Adam Justice