Sixty-nine high school students in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have
contracted acute hepatitis A over the past 20 days or so, and by
press time 56 students still remained in hospital. In north China's
Shanxi Province an outbreak of encephalitis B
has claimed 19 lives, local officials said yesterday.
Yu Yang, deputy director of Pingnan County's health bureau in
Guangxi, said Siwang Township reported 77 acute hepatitis A cases
between July 21 and August 9. Of them 69 are students from the
Siwang Township No.2 High School. As of Sunday 13 of the 77
patients had recovered and been discharged from hospital. Yu didn't
disclose if there were any new cases.
Pingnan's health authorities conducted health checks on all
teachers and students of the school and their families in a bid to
stop the spread of the disease.
The school has 1,800 teachers and students. Of them 1,557 have
undergone tests that proved 188 to be anti-HAV-IGM positive.
Currently 93 people have been quarantined in the school.
Medical practitioners of Pingnan County are using injections to
curb the spread of the disease and ease the symptoms of sufferers.
The cause of the outbreak is unknown, said Zhang Jianquan, head of
the health bureau. Zhang said bad drinking water could be
The local epidemic prevention station's tests show the water
quality in five wells that provide drinking water for the school
are far from meeting the safety standards set by the government.
Currently, 380 students of the school, who are now spending the
summer vacation with their parents in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, have not yet had their
health checks, said Li Desheng, the school headmaster. As yet
whether any of this group had contracted hepatitis A was unknown,
In Shanxi's Yuncheng City hit by an outbreak of encephalitis B,
more than 740,000 vaccines are required to inoculate everyone under
the age of 20, local officials said yesterday.
Local health authorities hope that vaccinating everyone in that
age group will curb the spread of the disease. Shanxi Provincial
Health Department has contacted vaccine manufacturers who are being
requested to provide the serum urgently. The disease can be
fatal to young people especially and leave them with
More than 20 percent of Yuncheng's population of 4.95 million is
under the age of 20. The provincial health department has already
provided 400,000 vaccines to the city, which had just 20,000 in
As of Sunday, Yuncheng reported 60 people had been infected with
the disease, 19 had died and 31 remained in hospital with eight of
them being in a critical condition. Six others recovered and were
discharged. Last year the area reported 30 cases of encephalitis B,
which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The city government has decided to provide free medical
treatment for the eight patients in critical condition and for four
people who had abandoned medical treatment because they could not
afford it. The costs of medical treatment will be covered for
everyone who cannot pay for it, said the city government. They'll
also provide free vaccines for people under 20 who live in remote
mountainous areas and whose families are poor.
The outbreak of encephalitis B exposed a shortage of vaccine
reserves at grass-roots medical centers in Yuncheng City and
especially in rural areas, said Liang Guodong, deputy head of the
virus research institute under the Chinese Center for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
A lack of instruments and equipment made it difficult for
medical workers to accurately diagnose the patients in good time,
A grass-roots epidemic disease prevention and control system
urgently needs to be established to ensure quick responses to
public health emergencies in the future, said experts with the
Ministry of Health, who are working with local health experts to
curb the spread of the disease.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2006)