Tag Archives: Health

WHO Removes China From Active Polio Outbreak List

We should note that it  is now six months since the most recent case of polio was confirmed in the fatal outbreak of WPV1 in Xinjiang, the first in the country since 2000. The World Health Organization has removed China from its list of active outbreaks. There were 21 confirmed cases in the outbreak, leaving at least 17 people paralyzed, including eight children. Two cases were fatal. A mass immunization program has been undertaken, with a fifth round of vaccinations being administered this month to all children under 15 in Xinjiang and to everyone under 40 in the five worst hit districts, Hotan in the south, where the outbreak was first reported last August, Kashgar, Aksu, Bazhou and Kezhou. The disease is thought to have arrived from Pakistan, where it is endemic and where there have been 13 confirmed cases so far this year.

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More Mass Vaccinations Planned Against Polio Outbreak In Xinjiang

China is extending it campaign of mass vaccinations against polio, state media has announced. Two more rounds of vaccinations will be conducted in March and April in Xinjiang. These will be the fourth and fifth rounds following a fatal outbreak of the disease there last August, though no new cases have been reported since last October. Nearly 4 million children in Xinjiang have been vaccinated so far.

The new inoculations, as with the previous round, will be given to all children under 15 in Xinjiang and to everyone under 40 in five regions of the province. They are Hotan in the south where the outbreak was first reported, Kashgar, Aksu, Bazhou and Kezhou. The outbreak is thought to have spread into southern Xinjiang from Pakistan and India.

At least 21 cases of the disease have been confirmed, leaving at least 17 people paralyzed, including eight children. Thirteen of the 21 cases are from Hotan, six from Kashgar and one each from Aksu and Bazhou. Ten of the cases are in children under three years of age and 11 cases are in adults between 19 and 53 years old. There have been two death, according to the World Health Organization, including at least one infant.

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The Stress Of Earthquake Rescue: Lessons From Sichuan

Word arrives from our man in Australia about long-term health problems being suffered by rescue workers involved in the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. Dr Wei Qiang Zhang from the Beijing Military General Hospital and Dr George Liu from Latrobe University in Melbourne led a team of Chinese and Australian researchers who looked at the after effects on 1,187 soldiers deployed to the rescue and relief operations. They found a high incidence of health problems including fatigue and depression as well as physical ailments such as skin and respiratory problems and abdominal pain and diarrhea. The results are reported in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Liu makes the point that soldiers, because of their military training, are in better shape to deal with rescue efforts than civilian volunteers, who, he believes, are much more likely to suffer mental or physical harm in such circumstances as they lack the professional training to cope with the stress of long hours and arduous often dangerous conditions. However, he also notes that the soldiers fared worse than other professionals such as fire-fighters and Red Cross workers because they were less well equipped, lacking in particular protective clothing and masks.

 

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An Eye-catching History Of Health And Wealth

We love statistics as much as anyone, and we love even more imaginative ways to display the stories they tell. In the video above, taken from a BBC TV program, Prof. Hans Rosling rolls through 120,000 data points correlating income and life expectancy over 200 years in 200 countries in barely four highly visual, highly engaging and highly informative minutes. What makes this doubly interesting to this Bystander is what it shows about health and wealth in China. Truly eye-catching in more ways than one. Just follow the biggest red dot.

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Heart Risk Rises With China’s Riches

With economic development comes developed nations’ diseases. China would anyway being facing a rise in coronary heart disease and strokes over the next 20 years because of an aging population that smokes heavily, but that will be turned into an epidemic by the changes to diet and more sedentary urban lifestyles that come with rising wealth.

Cardiovascular disease and death rates in China will increase by up to 73% by 2030, according to Andrew Moran of the Columbia University Medical Center in the U.S. Dr Moran led a group of researchers there and at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and several other medical institutions in Beijing whose conclusions are newly published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association (Abstract of article). The study is “s the first to project the individual and combined effects of major risk factor trends on a national scale,” Moran says.

A 73% increase translates into an extra 21.3 million heart attacks and an extra 7.7 million heart-illness related deaths. “National policy aimed at controlling blood pressure, smoking, and other risk factors would counteract the expected future cardiovascular disease epidemic in China, ” the researchers say.  It is a significant public policy issue to be tackled if the considerable gains China has made in overall health are not to be lost by the diseases of affluence.

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Ziketan Plague Outbreak

Update on the pneumonic plague outbreak in Ziketan: A third man has died of the disease, with two more reported at high risk. The town of 10,000 remains sealed off but schools and offices are reported open, if few shops. Streets are mostly empty. Some residents are said to have fled, but it is unclear if they made it past police checkpoints surrounding the town. Medical teams are disinfecting the area and killing rats and other potential carriers. There are no reports of new infections, according to Xinhua.

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Town Quarantined Following Plague Death; Rains Kill Hundreds

Forced quarantine is becoming the treatment of choice as authorities tackle outbreaks of potentially pandemic contagious diseases. The town of Ziketan near Xinghai in Qinghai has been closed off following the death of a 32-year-old herdsman from pneumonic plague. Eleven other people, all relatives of the dead man, are reported to be infected. Ziketan has a population of 10,000. Hundreds of people around the country who have been suspected of being in contact with victims of swine flu, including tourists, have also been quarantined in recent months.

Meanwhile, Xinhua reports that this rainy season, reckoned to be the heaviest for 70 years, has left 70 dead and 51 missing across a broad swathe of southwest to eastern China since July 24. In all this year, rain storms have  killed 307 people with 113 missing, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. The economic cost is put at 46.5 billion yuan ($6.8 billion).

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