Singapore hosted an international symposium Saturday focusing on the management of bird flu infection and the intensive care practice in bird flu treatment.
Said to be the world's first of its kind, the International Bird Flu Symposium gathered more than 30 experts from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey and Germany, as well as dozens of local doctors and nurses.
Admitting the lack of knowledge about the disease, which has spread from East Asia to West Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, clinicians attending the conference shared their first-hand experience in treating bird flu patients and the lessons drawn from the fight against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) three years ago in establishing best practice treatments.
Charles Gomersall, Director of Intensive Care at Hong Kong's Princess Margaret Hospital, told Xinhua that high mortality from the disease and the medical staff's morale are among top concerns in bird flu treatments.
He stressed that to maintain staff's morale is vital since it is quite depressing for them to see that nearly 90 percent of the critically ill patients with bird flu die and half of them are children.
Experts agreed that more exchange channels need to be established to get the medical community, as well as the public, better prepared for a possible influenza pandemic as bird flu is a much more severe disease than SARS.
An initiative of Drager Medical, a Germany-based manufacturer of medical equipment, the symposium is organized by the Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the Society of Infectious Diseases of Singapore with the support of the Ministry of Health.
Since the re-emergence of the H5N1 avian flu virus in Asia in 2003, the World Health Organization has reported a total of 166 confirmed human cases as of February 9 this year, of which 88 people have died in seven countries.