WHO Now Says China
Not Hiding H5N1 Cases
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
From ProMED-mail
Xinhua News Agency
Raising public awareness of avian influenza needs to eliminate people's misunderstanding on this epidemic, said an expert with the World Health Organization (WHO) here on Fri 25 Nov 2005.
"There was a high degree of fear of H5 avian influenza virus both in animals and humans." said Dr. Julie Hall, coordinator of epidemic alert and response in WHO's Beijing office, when referring to WHO's mission in central China's Hunan Province.
There were misunderstandings that the people may remain infectious after they recover from avian influenza, which they don't, and fears whether the disease would spread very quickly between people, which no evidence can prove at the moment, Hall said in an interview with Xinhua. Therefore these things need to be addressed, such as giving people accurate information, telling people very clearly what to look for in terms of early detection of symptoms, what to do to protect themselves, and what to do if animals are getting sick, she said. "So on the trip to Hunan, we recommended a good public education campaign and suggested that the authorities give people actual, practical and mutual information and help them reject misunderstandings," she said.
Based on her observation, Hall also noted that when someone has died, there appeared to be a misconception that the body itself might be infectious and pose risk to people so it must be cremated quickly. "We believe that it is important to inform the people of these misunderstandings so the families can go through proper grieving and burial process or cremation. There is no need to cremate a body too quickly," she said.
WHO will be working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) on developing some guidelines on this issue, Hall said, "hopefully it will be culturally sensitive and acceptable to the relatives, enable some samples to be taken to make a correct diagnosis, and enable the families to grieve and bury the dead in a way they would like."
Earlier in November 2005, 5 WHO experts went to central China's Hunan Province to look into 3 pneumonia cases at the invitation of the MOH. The MOH later announced one of the 3 cases -- a 9-year-old boy -- was a confirmed human case but he has recovered, and his sister who died was a suspected case. So far, China has reported 3 confirmed human cases of bird flu, including 2 fatalities and one recovered case.
WHO experts have been invited again to take part in a joint mission to probe the 2 confirmed human deaths from avian influenza in China's eastern Anhui Province, a mission that will set off fairly soon, according to WHO Beijing office. MOH has reported all confirmed cases of bird flu to WHO because of the potential significance of the disease, as other countries do, but they are actually reporting more than they need to and doing more than they have to. "That -- we feel -- is very encouraging," said Hall.
[2] >From ProMED-mail
Xinhua News Agency 11-25-5
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Fri 25 Nov 2005 refuted rumors that China was hiding human cases of avian influenza. Dick Thompson, an official of WHO, told reporters that concerning some news reports in German newspapers, he wanted to say that WHO did not believe that China was hiding any human cases of bird flu. WHO believed that China was notifying the organization as rapidly as it could and it was being as transparent as possible in this outbreak, he said.
German newspapers cited a Japanese virologist saying that avian influenza has killed 300 people in China, including 7 cases caused by human-to-human transmission. The Chinese Ministry of Health has confirmed from the WHO Beijing office that there was no Japanese expert in WHO's mission in Hunan Province early this month.
(The background to this statement can be understood by referring to the following ProMED-mail posts: Avian influenza, human - East Asia (180): China, RFI 20051123.3399; and Avian influenza, human - East Asia (182): China 20051124.3405 - Mod.CP)
From ProMED-mail Xinhua News Agency
China's Ministry of Health (MOH) on Fri 25 Nov 2005 refuted a rumor on the Internet spread by a Japanese virologist saying China has had several hundred human deaths from bird flu. "The rumor is absolutely groundless," MOH spokesman Mao Qun'an told Xinhua in an interview. "MOH has confirmed from the World Health Organization (WHO) Beijing office that there was no Japanese expert in WHO's mission in Hunan Province early this month," said Mao. All the reports quoting this so-called Japanese expert said that China has had several hundred human fatalities from bird flu were unreasonable and without foundation, he stressed.
China has so far reported 3 confirmed human cases of avian influenza, including 2 deaths in east China's Anhui Province and one recovered case in central province of Hunan. In the areas where bird flu outbreaks occurred, health authorities have put all the people who had close contact with sick and dead poultry under strict medical observation. Surveillance, reporting and separate treatment of fever and respiratory cases have also been strengthened, said Mao.
MOH has made timely report to WHO, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and some countries on each confirmed case and has immediately released the information to the public as well, he said. The cooperation between the Chinese government and WHO on bird flu control has been going smoothly, a spokesman at WHO headquarters was quoted by Mao as saying.
China is not covering up any human cases of bird flu, and the Japanese expert has never visited China on a WHO mission, the WHO spokesman confirmed, according to Mao. The Japanese expert, Masato Tashiro, said last week in Germany that avian influenza has killed 300 people in China, including 7 cases caused by human-to-human transmission, according to reports on the Internet portals including "New Scientist" and "WorldNet daily".
(ProMED believes in giving equal time to both sides of a question. In view of the above, we have asked Dr Masato Tashiro for further clarification. - Mod.JW)
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health




This Site Served by TheHostPros