The Ministry of Health will release monthly information on
current public health emergencies in China. This is the first time
that the health watchdog will be providing a national summary of
"The release will be made on a regular monthly basis from now
on," according to sources with the ministry's information
Major epidemics, diseases of unknown origin, major food or
workplace-related cases, and other serious incidents that pose a
threat to public health, for example SARS and bird flu, will be
reported, the ministry said.
The inaugural report was issued yesterday and
recorded a total of 279 public health emergencies that happened in
August, involving 4,128 people and leading to 202 deaths.
Infectious diseases and food poisoning were the top two killers
last month, accounting for 74 and 21 percent respectively of the
total number of cases.
The public health roundup is part of the ministry's overall
contingency plan. The ministry has been publishing monthly reports
on epidemics since February 2004.
Recent incidents include a lead poisoning case in northwest
Gansu Province that has affected 368 people to date. The
poisoning was a result of pollution from a smelting plant near
Xinsi and Muba villages in Huixian County. The smelting plant has
been shut down, and the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA) is conducting further investigations.
In another development, tap water supplies to 80,000 residents
were resumed yesterday evening in Yueyang County, central China's
Hunan Province. Supplies were suspended for four days after the
county's main drinking source was contaminated with arsenide.
Managers of the two factories linked to the contamination have been
(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2006)