China to get U.S. training on handling outbreaks

BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States is expanding a training program for Chinese health officials to include communications to promote transparency during disease outbreaks, the director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control said on Thursday.

Southern China’s mix of densely populated cities, crowded wet markets, a relatively warm climate and close proximity of humans, poultry and animals in the countryside mean new diseases can develop there before spreading worldwide in an age of global trade and fast transport.

The United States has trained dozens of Chinese ‘disease detectives,’ and will now add a program to train officials who would communicate with the public, to improve transparency and accuracy of information, Julie Gerberding told reporters.

“When you are in the middle of an outbreak or a serious public health threat, you can do everything perfectly but if you don’t communicate effectively, you will not succeed,” she said.

China has improved transparency since the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which originated in Southern China in 2002 and killed hundreds around the world.

After an initial cover-up, the government instituted disclosure, reporting and response procedures that some experts say paid off this May, when the country responded rapidly to a devasting earthquake in Sichuan province.

But cover-ups can still claim lives. Thousands of Chinese babies were sickened and at least four died after drinking baby formula contaminated with melamine. The dairy firm that sold the powder did not publicize the danger for weeks while Beijing hosted the Olympic Games.

Gerberding warned that complacency can also help diseases spread, including bird flu, which is endemic in poultry in Asia and has claimed 245 human lives since late 2003, and AIDS, which is often spread by people who don’t realize they have it.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Bill Tarrant)


Related Posts:

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese health authorities closed poultry markets for disinfecting in a province surrounding Beijing on Wednesday after a woman died of bird flu, the first such death in the country in almost a year. The 19-year-old woman died of the H5N1 bird flu virus after coming into contact with poultry in Hebei province, bringing

Full Post: China disinfects after first bird flu death in a year

BEIJING (Reuters) - Three children have died in eastern China from hand, foot and mouth disease in the country’s second outbreak of the potent toddler virus this year, state media reported on Monday. Health officials warned that the disease was epidemic in some parts of the coastal Fujian province, with 113 cases reported since the start

Full Post: Toddler virus flares up again in China, kills three

By Lucy Hornby BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. officials opened the first overseas Food and Drug Administration office in Beijing on Wednesday as they gear up for a long battle to ensure the quality of food, drug and feed imports from China. The eight FDA workers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will set up a process for pre-certifying

Full Post: U.S. says food, drug inspection access in China improving

BEIJING/HONGKONG (Reuters) - A 19-year-old woman has died of the H5N1 bird flu virus in Beijing after coming into contact with poultry, health authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong said on Tuesday. This human H5N1 case would be China’s first in almost a year. Experts said while the case was not unexpected as the virus is

Full Post: China confirms woman died of bird flu in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has promised harsh punishment for illegal poultry sales after four recent bird flu cases, as a health official said the mother of a toddler infected with the avian virus had died of pneumonia weeks before. Chinese health authorities on Monday said a 16-year-old boy from southern Hunan province was badly ill after

Full Post: China vows harsh punishment amid bird flu scare

Site Navigation

Most Read