Sat, Aug 17, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Infectious outbreaks are covered up

By Kevin Lee 李惠仁

This looks very much like a replay of the avian flu affair, with the bureau, which is an administrative department, once again interfering in the work of a test laboratory. Evidently the council is as good at covering things up as it is at bluffing.

After hearing the council’s convoluted reasoning, how can we work out the truth of the matter? Actually, it is quite simple:

First, we should ask who is meddling in the investigation. Who has been responsible for monitoring rabies in the nation for the past decade? Who insisted, for no apparent reason, that a test sample must consist of fresh brain tissue? Who told Chang that the shrew was infected with type 3 lyssavirus?

Second, we need to find out who provided the council’s top disease control department with bogus data so that Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) could not decide what step to take next which caused the public to panic and plunged disease control officers into dismay.

Third, the disease prevention teams that have been so elusive during the bird flu and rabies outbreaks need a thorough overhaul. When officials who are in charge of wild animals cannot recognize a ferret-badger and those in charge of poultry do not know what a chicken farm looks like, what else can we expect them to do but bluff their way through the task of disease control?

Kevin Lee is a documentary film director.

Translated by Julian Clegg

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