China's Ministry of Health (MOH) has urged local health bureaus to step up the prevention and control of infectious diseases ahead of the Olympics.
The MOH issued a circular on Saturday that ordered local bureaus to do their best to prevent and control infectious diseases, since mass outbreaks could easily occur at this time of year.
Besides the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that killed 22 children in eastern Anhui Province, the MOH ordered bureaus to increase surveillance of plague, cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria and meningitis.
Despite the overall progress made in controlling infectious diseases, epidemics have still broken out repeatedly in some regions, especially after unusual weather and population movements, the circular said.
Since spring, epidemics of HFMD, hepatitis A and measles have broken out in several counties, according to the circular.
All local health bureaus should give top priority to the prevention and control of infectious diseases especially in rural areas so as to protect public health ahead of the Olympics, the circular read.
It demanded that hospitals and local health bureaus make timely reports of infectious diseases. Concealment or failure to report such cases would be penalized, it said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2008)