China denies anthrax outbreak

Aug. 17, 2005 at 11:19 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- China's Ministry of Health Wednesday denied reports of a nationwide anthrax outbreak with state-run media downplaying monitoring activities now underway.

"Monitoring in some regions does not mean anthrax is breaking out in these regions. We are monitoring other infectious diseases as well," Xinhua said, quoting an unidentified media coordinator from the ministry's information office.

On Tuesday the ministry announced a plan to monitor anthrax in Gansu, Liaoning, Guizhou, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces as well as the Chongqing Municipality and Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia.

In July anthrax infections were reported in Guizhou, Liaoning, Jilin provinces plus the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. There was one fatality. According to Chinese media, all cases had direct or indirect links to infected cows and horses that were dead.

Those outbreaks have been put under control, Xinhua said.

Data released by the health ministry states that between 400 and 1,000 people have contracted anthrax each year over the last half decade.

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