Friday, October 30, 2009

Sounding the Alarm

China is getting very worried about the outbreak of the A (H1N1) flu virus in the next few months. So far the Ministry of Health says 80 percent of the country's flu infections are from the A (H1N1) influenza virus, and most of the mass cases occurred in schools.

"As the weather keeps getting colder, many regions are entering the traditional period of flu outbreak, and prevention and control work is becoming tougher," said Liang Wannian, vice director of the health emergency office under the ministry, said Thursday.

According to Liang, as of Wednesday, there were a total of 42,009 cases, 1,502 mass cases in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, with 96 percent of them occurred in schools.

On Wednesday a university student in Beijing died of the A (H1N1) virus, the fourth in China -- that has been officially reported.

Meanwhile, one of China's top epidemiologists, Zeng Guang was encouraging people to get the jab.

"If people do not have themselves vaccinated now, there will be endless trouble in the future," said Zeng, who is chief epidemiologist for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"With the number of patients with severe symptoms growing, China's medical treatment capacity, such as equipment and personnel, is to face huge challenges. We need to prepare in advance."

So far about 400,000 people have been innoculated with the A (H1N1) flu vaccine and no serious side effects reported yet.

While China has a right to be concerned about this health situation, it has done nothing to give practical tips to people to help avoid getting sick altogether. Unlike Hong Kong which has given out tons of leaflets and public service announcements, the mainland hasn't told people that the easiest way to protect oneself is to wash their hands regularly with soap, cough or sneeze into a tissue, avoid sharing food with others, avoid going out or working if you feel sick and take the proper medication and rest.

One would think those low-cost tips would be more feasible in a country with such a large population...

No comments: