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Hepatitis Outbreak Covered up by Chinese Authorities

By Wen Hong & Yi Xiang
Sound of Hope Radio Network
Created: December 25, 2012 Last Updated: December 25, 2012
Related articles: China » Society
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Hepatitis patients in Anhui Province fear their plea for help is being covered up. (SOH Radio)

Hepatitis patients in Anhui Province fear their plea for help is being covered up. (SOH Radio)

More than 100 people have been hospitalized, and the number of infections is growing after an outbreak of hepatitis C struck several villages in Eastern China.

Residents in Anhui Province’s Fengyang County are frustrated because the communist government appears to have deliberately concealed the epidemic, and is blocking information about it from being made public. As petitioning and appeals have been denied, two of the infected people killed themselves in desperation.

The suspected source of the infection was a shared needle used in a clinic. Hepatitis C was confirmed there in November. There was a sharp increase in the number of patients in summer, but at first doctors thought it was hepatitis A. However, after treatment for hepatitis A proved useless, tests revealed the virus was actually hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver.

Local resident Ms. Cheng spoke with The Epoch Times: “Now many people have hepatitis C; there are more and more. Many have been hospitalized. Without any medical insurance, they have to pay for the treatment themselves. Some committed suicide because of this. Everyone is panicking.”

Apparently, local hepatitis C patients all had injections at Chezhan village clinic in Banqiao Town. The doctors there used the same needle to do a skin test on patients, and intravenous drip bottles were re-used many times. The villagers pointed out that this clinic has official approval for treatment, and is in the medical insurance system. Two doctors from the clinic, Li Shaoguo and Li Shaochuan, have fled with their families, but have not yet been held accountable for the epidemic.

Ms. Huang of Guantang Village, Zongpu Town, described what had happened to two family members who were treated at the clinic.

“My father and one of my nephews both had an intravenous drip there. Despite paying tens of thousands yuan for medical treatment, they feel weak, have lost their ability to work, and cannot even walk. People sell crops for a living here. When others hear that there are hepatitis C patients in the family, nobody buys their crops or even dares talk to the patients. All the patients went together to the local government, but the authorities are doing nothing, just stalling. So more people became infected and the government is now responsible. They told the patients not to petition to higher levels of government, yet they do nothing to help the patients.”

According to the villagers, most of the patients are farmers, and are now facing great financial pressure. Using the imported drug interferon alpha to treat hepatitis C costs 100,000 yuan ($16,000) per year.

One of the villagers said: “There have been seven or eight attempts to petition. The epidemic is caused by the government health department’s lax supervision and they are afraid of being held responsible if it’s publicized. That’s why they are covering it up. And many mainstream media don’t dare to report the epidemic.”

In recent years, there have been several hepatitis C epidemics, all caused by sharing needles. For example, this February, over 200 were infected in Zijin County, Guangdong Province. Last year, more than 100 people were affected by an outbreak in Wuoyang County, Anhui Province. 

Read the original Chinese article. 

chinareports@epochtimes.com

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