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FROM THE PLAGUE TO NEW EMERGING DISEASES A CHRONICLE OF PASTEURIAN RESEARCH IN HONG KONG
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28 May 2008 - 03 Aug 2008

The Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, the Friends of the Institut Pasteur in Hong Kong and the University Museum and Art Gallery are pleased to present an exhibition that celebrates the 120th anniversary of the Institut Pasteur through the life and work of the remarkable Pasteurian scientist, Alexandre Yersin, who dedicated his life to fighting infectious diseases in Asia.

Yersin was sent to Hong Kong in 1894 to investigate an epidemic of bubonic plague that was taking hundreds of lives. Working from a makeshift straw hut laboratory in Kennedy Town, he identified the plague bacillus that now bears his name, Yersinia pestis. The exhibition explores the history of infectious diseases in Hong Kong from the plague of 1894 to the present day, and the challenges that virologists continue to face today. The exhibition also shows the importance of global collaboration in the identification and prevention of deadly epidemics, such as dengue fever, avian influenza, and SARS. Yersin's organisation, the Institut Pasteur, and their international research networks include the HKU-Pasteur Research Centre's collaboration with the University's Department of Microbiology, the team that isolated the SARS virus.

This exhibition is a timely reminder of the lifesaving scientific medical collaboration between France and Hong Kong, and its implications for world health.

 

Hong Kong's Tai Ping Shan area, 1890s 

(Photo courtesy of Institut Pasteur Paris)

 

Yersin's straw hut laboratory in Kennedy Town, 1894 

(Photo courtesy of Institut Pasteur Paris)


A photographic self-portrait of Alexandre Yersin taken in 1892 during his first expedition 

 (Photo courtesy of Institut Pasteur Paris) 

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