CDC worried over China health threats

By Hu Ching-hui  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mon, Jul 09, 2007 - Page 2

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are concerned that cross-strait tourism, trade exchanges, rampant smuggling and lack of transparency regarding epidemics in China will make that country the biggest obstacle to disease prevention in Taiwan.

Quoting a report from China's Ministry of Health in February, the CDC said that 4,608,910 people in China contracted a transmittable disease last year and that 10,726 died from such diseases.

The centers said the four biggest killers in China in the last two years were tuberculosis, rabies, AIDS and hepatitis B.

It said that the level of health care in China is not very good and uneven at best, which can be seen from the number of tuberculosis cases.

Cases of people contracting rabies, which no longer exists in Taiwan, were reported in Shanghai and Beijing and in Yunnan, Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces last year.

Twenty-five cases of bird flu have been confirmed in China and of those cases, 16 died, the CDC said.

The five H5N1 permutations that have appeared around the world may all have their origin in Guangdong Province, it said.

Saying that the virus could now be firmly rooted in Guangdong Province, the CDC called on people traveling to the region to avoid contact with birds and wild animals, and asked any traveler who develops a fever to give a detailed account of their travels when consulting a doctor.