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Shanxi Reports 65 Encephalitis B Cases
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Yuncheng City of north China's Shanxi Province reported 65 cases of encephalitis B as of Monday, up from Sunday's figure of 60.

Of the 65 people, 19 have died, 38 are being treated in hospital, four are being treated at home and four have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospital, according to the daily update from the Yuncheng City Health Bureau.

Effective measures have been taken to curb the spread of the disease since the first case of encephalitis B was reported in the city on July 13, said bureau head Zhou Ying.

Local people were told how to protect themselves from contracting the disease, the environment was cleaned up and vaccination was enhanced in the affected and nearby areas, Zhou added.

All these efforts have paid off and the epidemic situation is under control, the official said.

Nine out of the 13 counties of the city, which has a population of 5 million, have reported cases of encephalitis B, said the local disease control center.

Encephalitis B causes an inflammation of the brain and can be contracted by people of all ages. It is usually the result of a viral infection passed to humans by mosquitoes. The illness begins with flu-like symptoms and severe headaches.

Many people who have fallen ill come from the rural areas of Yuncheng and live on flood plains of the Yellow River, where there is poor sanitation and good breeding conditions for mosquitoes, Zhou said.

Yuncheng reported about 30 cases of encephalitis B patients in 2005. The number of encephalitis B patients in Yuncheng accounts for over 50 percent of the total in Shanxi Province every year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2006)

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