Cholera Outbreak Reported in South China

September 2, 2010 4:46 pm Last Updated: September 4, 2010 10:09 pm

An outbreak of cholera in a county in south China's Anhui Province, beginning Aug. 16, had infected 33 people as of Aug. 29. The outbreak was probably caused by contaminated food, leaving its victims with severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Schools were closed in Mengcheng County of Anhui, where the outbreak occurred, and officials told residents to make liberal use of disinfectants.

The first confirmed case of cholera on Aug. 16 was in a woman who sought hospital treatment for diarrhea after eating at a local food stand.

She was diagnosed with acute intestinal infection, the case reported to the county Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the woman put under quarantine, and the stool samples later confirmed to be infected with Vibrio cholerae serotype Ogawa, a medical term for cholera, a bacterial disease that causes massive diarrhea and can result in death.

The Epoch Times made phone calls to businesses and residents in the region to assess the impact of the health scare.

An employee of Bianmin Pharmacy in Mengcheng County said: “We’ve sold a lot of disinfectant. Every family is using it.”

A Shilibao Village resident commented: “The village authorities have told us to use disinfectant every day.”

A teacher from Liulin Township Central Elementary School teachers told an Epoch Times reporter that there were not enough disinfectants, and that raising awareness among parents is crucial.

“We have one confirmed case in our school. Once the students return to school, should the situation worsen, it will probably be difficult to control and prevent the infection from spreading. Crowd control is paramount now. All the restaurants are closed.”

The earliest back-to-school date was be Sept. 1, but that starting date is now highly unlikely based on the current situation, he said.

A fourth grader told the reporter: “We know of the cholera outbreak. Our teachers have not told us when to return to school.”

The Mengcheng County government office, on the other hand, said that schools will restart as usual and that there is no danger of a further outbreak.

A pharmacist told the reporter: “Members of the Neighborhood Committee [the basic organizational unit under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party] visit every household every day to inquire if there is anyone who has diarrhea. They have just left my place. One customer came to the pharmacy to buy diarrhea medicine. I told him to go to the hospital.”

All street-food businesses are closed, according to another Mengcheng resident. “We all cook at home. We don’t buy raw and cold food from street vendors; I do not allow my two children to eat out,” this resident said.

A county-level hospital doctor surnamed Xu told The Epoch Times that they were busy testing those who work in the foods industry, adding that these individuals were forbidden to talk to the media.

Jiangsu Provincial Health Department officials had reported one case of cholera in July; no deaths have been reported.

Read the original Chinese article