Sichuan's &#039Mystery Disease&#039 may be Ebola Virus

August 1, 2005 Updated: August 1, 2005

By midday July 29, the toll from the recent mystery disease in China's Sichuan province had reached 163 cases of the disease, with 32 people dead and 27 critically ill. The symptoms of the disease have led some experts to speculate that Ebola virus could be the cause. Mainland internet BBS circulated a transcript of an interview with a Sichuan doctor who discussed the facts of this mystery disease in detail. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has prohibited news coverage, and has forbidden the use of the words 'Ebola virus' in reports, instead requiring the use of alternate wording.

On the evening of July 22, CCP Central Television (CCTV) reported that an unknown disease had been spreading in Sichuan Ziyang City during the past month and, at that time, 20 cases had been discovered, with nine fatalities and six people critically ill.

The report also mentioned that the Sichuan Health Department had announced that from June 24 to July 21 Ziyang City's First, Second and Third People's Hospitals admitted 20 patients with an unknown illness. The initial symptoms were high fever, weakness accompanied by nausea and vomiting, followed by bleeding under the skin, and shock.

The patients were all farmers, aged between 30 and 70. The CCTV report claimed that no one who had been in contact with the patients had been infected.

Unusual Deaths at the Beginning of June: No Public Report Until End of July

On July 24 the Sichuan Health Department's materials reported that a disease of unknown origin had occurred in Sichuan's Ziyang City. There were a total of 58 cases of the illness with a clinical diagnosis of 48 cases and 10 cases which were uncertain. There were also 17 deaths from the illness. The local sanitation bureau officials said that the cause of the disease was still under investigation, but had ruled out SARS. Preliminary analysis indicates that the disease is related to direct contact with pigs and sheep that have died of the illness. The actual cause requires further investigation.

On July 29 the Mainland website "Free China Forum" BBS posted an interview transcript with Doctor Wang, who had examined the Sichuan mystery disease. Doctor Wang stated that he had received a phone call from the Sichuan Health Department on June 2, saying that an unusual death had been discovered in the local area, and that a sample of the virus would be delivered to him. This occurred 22 days before the July news report.

Doctor Wang said that the virus sample specimen was examined as soon as it was received and a type of Ebola virus was extracted from the specimen. When asked why "low dissemination" was added to the name of the Ebola virus in China, Doctor Wang explained that it was done to reduce public concern, and also because a variation of the Ebola virus had actually occurred in China.

Examination Results Show Ebola Virus

Doctor Wang explained: "They started the examination quickly after receiving the sample, they extracted SZ77++A3231 virus from the sample, which is a kind of Ebola virus. The previous classification of Ebola in the country used the EBO – location (where it was discovered) – model; later on, for unknown reasons, the news of classification leaked out. Therefore the classification method changed, [they] abandoned EBO, increasing the infection extent, infection speed, etc. The disease that occurred at the beginning of June is SZ77++A3231 virus, sometimes we do not specify the source region but directly use ++A3231, so that people will not think of the Ebola virus."

Doctor Wang has also participated in similar work in other areas of China besides Sichuan. The CCP formed three departments specifically to conduct these examinations, so obviously Sichuan is not the only area to have experienced the illness caused by the Ebola virus.

Many Mainland Chinese recognize that the current mystery disease in Sichuan is the EB-SZ77 type Ebola virus. There is not yet an official name for the disease. It is difficult to give it an official name because the virus changes so fast, and may spread through a third medium.

First Case of Ebola in Shenzhen City Early this Year

The earliest occurrence of this Ebola virus disease can be traced back to Shenzhen city in Guangdong Province. On March 25, 2005, The Epoch Times published an article on the first appearance of the Ebola virus in Shenzhen during February. The virus had already caused several deaths and cases of 'missing people' [Editor's note: rather than accurately reporting the cause of death, the authorities simply claim that victims are 'missing'].

This article mentioned that medical personnel who had been working in hospitals for years said that they had never seen an illness like it. The bodies of those who died of the illness appeared to be dissolved, much like the Ebola virus in Africa. The main spread of the virus was through blood, causing doctors to die after contact with infected blood.

On March 26, Shenzhen Customs and related hospitals and government departments held a confidential meeting to pass an order from higher authorities to strengthen the hygiene-related work. An insider also disclosed that at dawn on March 26, another suspected Ebola virus death case occurred in Nanao Town, Shenzhen. There are indications that the Ebola virus was already spreading in Mainland China. The CCP blocked this information, telling the outside world that the deaths were caused by the advanced stages of AIDS.

On March 29, China's Ministry of Health announced that, "Presently, this virus has not been found in the mainland." The source of the information regarding the death case in Nanao Town couldn't be contacted further, and the company and hospitals denied the existence of the Nanao Town case or any existence of a patient record. All websites in mainland China have now started using official language to report this case.

Although the Ministry of Health said that the (Ebola) virus has not been found on the mainland, according to inside information on July 14, frequent confidential meetings were held by the Guangdong Province government, Guangzhou military region, Shenzhen municipal government and Shenzhen Customs during late June and early July, discussing the slow spread of the Ebola virus in Guangdong Province. People were strictly prohibited from spreading information about the Ebola virus and bird flu that appeared in Guangdong and media reports were also forbidden.

CCP Cover-up Under Threat Once International Organizations Involved

Why don't CCP officials allow the World Health Organization to investigate and provide help?

Veterinary pathology scholar Liu Zhenyi said that the CCP has always flaunted its "greatness, honor, and correctness", and is most concerned about saving face. This appears to be a higher priority than people's lives. Guan Yi, scholar and bird flu expert at Hong Kong University disclosed in Nature magazine that bird flu had infected southern China. Chinese officials subsequently shut down his laboratory, slandered him and said that his laboratory was "illegal."

Doctor Wang, quoted earlier, who examined this strange Sichuan disease, also believes that the CCP would not allow the involvement of the World Health Organization because it would be extremely disadvantageous for the international image of the CCP. It wouldn't be just a medical question, but could lead to exposure on issues such as the local medical environment, survival conditions, environmental pollution and political corruption.