Yunnan Province has confirmed 20 cases of cholera and identified 27 other people as carriers of the disease, the local health authority announced at a news conference on February 2.
Disease control and prevention work is immediatly put in place in response to the cholera outbreak in Yunnan Province.
The outbreak began in mid-January at Sizhai Village in Tonghai County following a funeral dinner attended by 585 people. On January 18, the host of the dinner, a Mr Li, was sent to hospital suffering from diarrhea. Two other villagers were hospitalized shortly afterwards.
Two of the cases were later confirmed as O139 cholera.
Subsequently cases turned up in two other counties. The epidemic has so far affected a total of 47 people; 20 cholera cases and 27 healthy carriers.
The 47 have fully recovered after a period in quarantine. Health officials say the outbreak is under control and that there have been no fatalities.
But Lu Lin, a health official at the Yunnan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that further outbreaks are likely.
"Firstly, cholera is highly infectious and difficult to control; secondly, many people attended the funeral dinner and they are more than likely carriers," said Lu. "Moreover, the affected areas are rural districts where water and sanitation conditions are generally poor."
The health official said the source of the cholera outbreak was most probably not indigenous, since 26 villagers in the affected areas had recently travelled to overseas countries known to be infected, and there had been no previous cases of O139 cholera in Yunnan.
(China.org.cn by He Shan, February 3, 2009)