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Nation to Set up Health Emergency Teams

China's Ministry of Health will establish several state-level teams for combating public health emergencies in the near future.
The People's Daily reported on Wednesday that the proposed teams will be authorized to deal with emergencies like bird flu, SARS, unidentified virus epidemics, poisoning, and radiation accidents.
China will also continue to upgrade the capacity of current state-level emergency brigades. This includes disaster relief teams, disease prevention and control teams, and anti-terrorism medical teams.
The Ministry notes the establishment of new state-level emergency teams will better handle abrupt public health events in the country.
Meanwhile, a US health official says China has been open and transparent in its dealings with the bird flu.
US National Institutes of Health director Elias Zerhouni made the remarks Tuesday. He says there is a stark contrast between China's openness about bird flu and its handling of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, which had emerged in China three years ago.
"China is definitely cooperative and transparent in controlling bird flu and is ready to exchange virus samples with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners so as to track the genetic changes of the virus," Zerhouni told a news conference at the US Embassy in Beijing.
China has announced six human cases of bird flu since November 16th. This includes at least two fatalities, according to Ministry of Health reports.

(CRI December 22, 2005)


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