Published Date: 2005-11-18 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza, human - East Asia (175): China
Archive Number: 20051118.3358
AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN - EAST ASIA (175): CHINA
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The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 18 Nov 2005
From: C Griot <Christian.Griot@ivi.admin.ch>
Source: Newsgroups: agen.ape.international, AP, Fri 18 Nov 2005 [edited]
Dozens of Chinese farmers and villagers who came in contact with 2 people
who contracted avian influenza virus infection have shown no signs of the
disease and have been released from medical observation, the official
Xinhua News Agency stated on Fri 18 Nov 2005. The human cases -- a woman
who died and a boy who recovered -- were confirmed on Wed 16 Nov 2005.
In the eastern province of Anhui, 22 farmers who had close contact with the
24 year old woman "were all OK", Wu Fuqing, an Anhui official, was quoted
as saying by Xinhua.
In Hunan province in central China, "no abnormal signs" were detected in
152 villagers who came in contact with the 9 year old boy or his 12 year
old sister, who died with the same symptoms, Xinhua said. She is considered
a suspected case only because her body was cremated and there weren't
adequate samples for confirmatory testing.
In addition, 908 people who came down with fever are recovering, said Ai
Ronggui, deputy director of the health bureau in Xiangtan, the county where
the outbreak occurred. Xinhua did not describe the type of medical
observation the people were under.
China has reported 13 outbreaks of bird flu in poultry since 19 Oct 2005.
Experts had warned that human cases were inevitable if the government could
not stop repeated epidemics among birds. At least 67 people in Asia have
died since 2003, when the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu became
entrenched in poultry populations. Also the Xinhua News Agency said that
China's south western province of Yunnan stated that it would cooperate
with Laos to prevent the spread of bird flu at border areas. No cases of
bird flu have been reported in Laos or Yunnan, which also borders Myanmar
and Viet Nam, the country hardest hit by bird flu.
About 14 million poultry have been vaccinated in Yunnan and 25 markets
selling live birds have been closed, Xinhua stated. China's central and
provincial governments have been trumpeting their prevention and
surveillance measures while state media has given wide play to the disease
and official efforts.
"In 2003, we triumphed over SARS", Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying
on state television. "It shows that we will triumph over bird flu as well."
In Hunan's Xiangtan County, local newspapers and television and radio
stations were required to release [identifying?] details of the brother and
sister who were sickened by H5N1, Xinhua said. It was an unusual step
toward public disclosure in a country where the government tightly controls
information on issues it considers sensitive.
In Anhui, officials have been asked to sign a contract of responsibility
that includes compulsory poultry vaccination and proper handling of dead
poultry, Xinhua said. Provincial health authorities have also stockpiled 60
million units of bird flu vaccine for poultry, 10 tons of disinfectant and
2000 sets of protective suits in case of an outbreak, Xinhua said.
All local governments have also been urged to give timely reports of
poultry deaths and hospitals have been asked to open hot lines for
consultations or have been appointed as facilities to treat humans infected
with the H5N1 virus, it said.
In Beijing, schools were required to report any students who have a fever,
Xinhua said. Anyone who has had contact with a confirmed human case of bird
flu and subsequently develops a fever or shows other symptoms of the
disease is required to undergo at least a week of medical observation, the
Beijing Times reported on Fri 18 Nov 2005. 2 infectious diseases hospitals
have been set aside to treat human cases, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, 2 people have been detained for producing and selling fake
poultry vaccines in the northern province of Liaoning, where 4 outbreaks
have been reported, Xinhua said. Authorities discovered the counterfeits
earlier in November 2005 and have already detained 4 other people, it said.
Health officials have warned that the fake vaccines may have left the
province's millions of chickens, ducks and other poultry susceptible.
[byline: Audra Ang]