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Dr. Carlo Urbani (WHO Specialist)
Dr. Carlo Urbani is perhaps one of the most recognized heroes of the SARS outbreak. His work, determination, and self-sacrifice, in the name of medical research, have touched many people worldwide. In fact, his friends and colleagues will most likely remember him as the person who first detected SARS.
His work on SARS
Dr. Carlo Urbani was a WHO specialist in infectious diseases. On February 28 2003, he was asked to take a look at a suspicious case at the Vietnam French Hospital, in which a patient had been infected with an unusual influenza-like virus.
Dr. Urbani discovered that the hospital was facing something very abnormal. However, he chose to work there, documenting findings, arranging for samples to be sent for testing, and reinforcing infection control.
An isolation ward was established by the Vietnam French Hospital. Moreover, Dr. Urbani worked directly with the medical staff of the hospital to strengthen their morale and to alleviate fears as it was discovered that SARS is highly contagious.
Dr. Urbani informed the WHO of the seriousness of the outbreak, resulting in the Vietnam government taking extraordinary steps of quarantining the Vietnam French Hospital, introducing new infection-control procedures in other hospitals, and issuing an international appeal for expert assistance.
On March 11 2003, Dr. Urbani began to have symptoms during a flight to Bangkok, Thailand. On his arrival, he told a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Preventino) colleague who greeted him at the airport not to approach him. They sat down at a distance from each other, in silence, waiting for an ambulance to assemble protective gear. Dr. Urbani fought SARS for the next 18 days in a makeshift isolation room in a Bangkok hospital.
Unfortunately, Dr. Carlo Urbani died on March 29, 2003.
As we read this text, we should be aware that Dr. Urbani's decisive and determined intervention saved valuable time and also numerous lives. The world shall remember Dr. Urbani with pride, in his selfless devotion to medicine and his noble work for mankind.
1 Dr. Carlo Urbani (source: World Health Organization)
His past works
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