- 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,"
-  >From ProMED-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- ProMED-mail email@example.com
- (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)
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