Chinese medical experts examine Urumqi syringe attacks victims

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Chinese military medical experts on Saturday said that it was too early to say victims in recent syringe attacks in Urumqi City had contracted diseases related to radioactive substance, anthrax and toxic chemical as rumors had it.

Normally, the latent period of these diseases range from months to half a year, said Qian Jun, director of Disease Control and Biological Security Office with China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, at a press conference here. "They should be closely observed."

Qian said he, along with other five medical experts with the General Logistics Department of Chinese People's Liberation Army, had examined 217 medical records of victims since Friday.

"So far, no evidence showed that they had contracted diseases related to radioactive substance, anthrax, toxic chemical, microorganism, hepatitis A, hepatitis B or AIDS," he said.

Syringe attacks carried out since Aug. 20 have resulted in panic and resentment from the public

By Thursday, local hospitals had dealt with 531 victims of hypodermic syringe stabbings, 106 of whom showed obvious signs of needle attacks.

"To spread such diseases, there must be a large amount of blood of the infected persons in the syringe," said Li Jingyun, an expert on AIDS. "But such things are very difficult to get."

Experts said that some of those who said they had been stabbed actually suffered from mosquitoes' stings or other psychogenic reasons. They also urged Urumqi citizens not to panic.

Qian said further identification was underway and they were giving psychological counseling to some victims.

Investigation had showed those involved in the syringe attacks were from the Uygur ethnic group while those attacked included people from Han and other ethnic groups.

Xinjiang police has captured 25 syringe attackers, of whom seven are in police custody, four were arrested and four others were referred for criminal prosecution, the Xinjiang regional government sources said Friday.

(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2009)

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