• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jepicomhInstructions for authorsCurrent TOCJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
J Epidemiol Community Health. Nov 2003; 57(11): 864–870.
PMCID: PMC1732318

Monitoring community responses to the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong: from day 10 to day 62


Study Objective: To report the evolution in perceptions and behaviours of the general public in response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in Hong Kong.

Design: Ten similar and sequential telephone surveys were conducted during outbreak of SARS, which are classified as belonging to the first and second phases of the epidemic.

Setting: Hong Kong, China.

Participants: 1397 Hong Kong residents between 18 and 60 years of age.

Main outcome measures: Perceptions and behaviours to SARS and its prevention.

Results: Most of the respondents believed that SARS could be transmitted via direct body contact and droplets. About half of respondents believed that SARS was curable, which increased in the initial phase and decreased in the second phase. Perceived chance of infection was low (9%) but fear of infection in public places was high (48%). Perceived efficacy of hygiene measures (wearing a mask: 82%, hand washing: 93%, and home disinfection: 75%) remained high in both phases and the perceived efficacy of avoiding crowded place, and using public transportation, etc, increased initially and decreased in the second phase. In parallel, use of the three hygiene measures increased significantly in the first phase and remained high for wearing a mask and washing hands in the second phase. Percentages of people avoiding crowded place and public transportation significantly increased initially and decreased in the second phase.

Conclusion: SARS related perceptions and behaviours evolved rapidly during the epidemic and Hong Kong residents quickly adopted appropriate SARS prevention measures. Timely dissemination of information seems effective in public health crises management.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (265K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Lee Nelson, Hui David, Wu Alan, Chan Paul, Cameron Peter, Joynt Gavin M, Ahuja Anil, Yung Man Yee, Leung CB, To KF, et al. A major outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Hong Kong. N Engl J Med. 2003 May 15;348(20):1986–1994. [PubMed]
  • Carter Jeanne, Park Elyse R, Moadel Alyson, Cleary Sean D, Morgan Carole. Cancer knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices (KABP) of disadvantaged women in the South Bronx. J Cancer Educ. 2002 Fall;17(3):142–149. [PubMed]
  • Basuki Endang, Wolffers Ivan, Devillé Walter, Erlaini Noni, Luhpuri Dorang, Hargono Rachmat, Maskuri Nuning, Suesen Nyoman, van Beelen Nel. Reasons for not using condoms among female sex workers in Indonesia. AIDS Educ Prev. 2002 Apr;14(2):102–116. [PubMed]
  • Rahman M, Shimu TA, Fukui T, Shimbo T, Yamamoto W. Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices about HIV/AIDS among the overseas job seekers in Bangladesh. Public Health. 1999 Jan;113(1):35–38. [PubMed]
  • Chan R, Khoo L, Goh CL, Lam MS. A knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices (KABP) survey on HIV infection and AIDS among doctors and dental surgeons in Singapore. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 1997 Sep;26(5):581–587. [PubMed]
  • Maticka-Tyndale E, Kiewying M, Haswell-Elkins M, Kuyyakanond T, Anursornteerakul S, Chantapreeda N, Choosathan R, Sornchai S, Theerasobhon P, Supornpun A, et al. Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about HIV/AIDS among women in northeastern Thailand. AIDS Educ Prev. 1994 Jun;6(3):205–218. [PubMed]
  • Riley Steven, Fraser Christophe, Donnelly Christl A, Ghani Azra C, Abu-Raddad Laith J, Hedley Anthony J, Leung Gabriel M, Ho Lai-Ming, Lam Tai-Hing, Thach Thuan Q, et al. Transmission dynamics of the etiological agent of SARS in Hong Kong: impact of public health interventions. Science. 2003 Jun 20;300(5627):1961–1966. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...