China is continuing efforts to prevent further outbreaks of "Snail Fever", also known as Bilharzia.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture released the "Outlines of Snail Fever Prevention from 2004 to 2008." This follows an epidemic outbreak of the disease this summer, afflicting over a million people in central and southern regions of China.
According to the document, government efforts in countering snail fever have paid off in the past year. Among the four-hundred-and-thirty-three counties afflicted with the disease, two-hundred-and-sixty have put a stop to its spread. But, it points out that China needs to remain alert to prevent further epidemics.
The report pointed to improvements in health conditions in affected regions as essential for prevention. In addition, education about the disease should be provided. Snail fever is a potentially lethal illness caused by a parasitic flatworm, carried by freshwater snails. Regions along the Yangtze River, prone to flooding, are the hardest hit by the disease in China.
(CCTV.com November 7, 2004)