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Carlo Urbani

  Carlo Urbani (Castelplanio, Italy October 19, 1956 – Bangkok, Thailand March 29, 2003) was an Italian physician and the first to identify severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as a new and dangerously contagious disease. His early warning to the World Health Organization (WHO) touched off a massive response that probably helped save the lives of millions of people around the world.

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In 2003, Urbani was called in to The French Hospital of Hanoi to look at patient Johnny Chen, an American businessman who had fallen ill with what doctors thought was a bad case of the flu. Urbani realized that Chen did not have the flu, but that what he did have was probably new and highly contagious. Urbani immediately notified WHO, triggering the most effective response to a major epidemic in history. Urbani persuaded the Vietnamese Health Ministry to begin isolating patients and screening travelers, thus slowing the early pace of the epidemic. On March 11, he flew from Hanoi to a conference in Bangkok, Thailand and fell ill with SARS while on the plane. A colleague who met him at the airport called an ambulance. After 18 days of intensive care in a Bangkok hospital, his wife only able to speak to him through an intercom, Urbani died at the age of 46.

Urbani received his doctorate of medicine from the University of Ancona. He was a past president of the Italian chapter of Médecins Sans Frontières and was one of the individuals who accepted the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of that organization. He was employed by the World Health Organization and based in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he mainly worked on combatting parasitic diseases, but was generally expert on infectious diseases. He was married and had three children.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Carlo_Urbani". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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