Monday, November 28, 2005

News - Reuters AlertNet - FEATURE-Epidemic survivors stress need for mental care

Joey Lee began suffering severe mood swings, depression and would sob every day for no apparent reason soon after she survived a SARS infection while working as a nurse in a public hospital in Hong Kong in 2003.

Lee and her 8-year-old son, who was not infected, have been seeing a psychologist since. "He would cry all the time and at night, he is terrified that my husband and I will die," she said.

Lee and her friends who are coping with the after effects of SARS shudder to think what will happen when a feared bird flu pandemic actually strikes, a catastrophe that will make the SARS epidemic of 2003 seem like a drop in the ocean.

Health experts have warned for months that the H5N1 bird flu virus might trigger this disaster if it mutates and becomes easily transmissible among people. Millions could die.

It was in Hong Kong that H5N1 made its first known jump to humans in 1997, infecting 18 people and killing six of them. About 1.5 million chickens were culled to end the outbreak.

Reuters AlertNet - FEATURE-Epidemic survivors stress need for mental care

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