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Japanese encephalitis kills 19 in north China, vaccines needed

by editor2
August 14th, 2006

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) – More than 740,000 vaccines are urgently needed in a north Chinese city to stop the spread of Japanese encephalitis which has so far claimed 19 lives, Xinhua news agency reported.

The health authorities are seeking the vaccines to inoculate all residents of Yuncheng in Shanxi province under the age of 20, Xinhua said.

So far they have secured 400,000 vaccines, but more than 20 pct of the city’s population of about five mln are under the age of 20. City authorities have consequently approached pharmaceutical companies for help.

‘The outbreak … exposed a shortage of vaccine reserves at grassroots medical institutions in Yuncheng city,’ Liang Guodong, an official with the National Disease Prevention and Control Center, told Xinhua.

As of today, Yuncheng reported up to 60 people had been infected with the disease.

Nineteen had died and another 31 remained in hospital with eight of these in a critical condition. Six others have recovered and were discharged from hospital, Xinhua said.

Japanese encephalitis causes inflammation of the membranes around the brain.

According to the World Health Organization, 50,000 cases are recorded in Asia each year, resulting in 15,000 deaths and permanent disability for many others.

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