Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, September 15, 2003

Reappearance of SARS Highly Possible: Expert

It is not quite possible for the virus of SARS to be "wiped out" and automatically disappear within a short period of time, and that it is highly possible for the reemergence of SARS, said a Chinese researcher.


Yang Weizhong, a researcher with the Emergency Office of the China Disease Prevention and Control Center (DPC), emphasized on September 11 that it is not quite possible for the virus of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) to be "wiped out" and automatically disappear within a short period of time, and that it is highly possible for the reemergence of SARS.

In the report "The Infectious SARS Epidemic and Its Prevention and Control" made at the China Health Forum held here in Beijing, he pointed out, that is because animal remains the possible source of virus, and it coexists with humankind; and the crowd is generally susceptible to the virus of SARS. But this winter and next spring and even for quite a long period of time to come, there also exist the possibility that the SARS epidemic will not appear, then it may suddenly occur at a certain time hardly predictable.

In his opinion, the time for the reappearance of the SARS epidemic is closely associated with the time when the virus attacks humankind, not necessarily manifested as a high incidence in winter and spring. This is because the seasonal distribution of virus carried by animals and the opportunity for human contact of contagious animals will affect the time for the recurrence of the epidemic.

He said there is still the possibility of an outbreak of a fairly large-scale epidemic disease. This is because it is impossible to guard against the case of disease caused by virus disseminated by and coming from animals, but its spread and dissemination is closely related to the density and flow of population as well as the adopted preventive and control tactics and measures. Therefore, the possibility based mainly on dissemination and partial outbreak is greater, but the scale of the epidemic would not be larger than in the first half of this year.

He pointed out that currently the Chinese government pays high attention to this matter, China has had a fairly favorable external environment and experiences in preventing and controlling work, hospital infection-control work has been strengthened, diagnostic reagents have begun to be put to use, all these are helpful to promptly discover patients. However, the prevention and control of SARS remains a complicated, prolonged, arduous and special work, for this reason we should base ourselves on a long-term battle, only by doing so can we turn passivity into activity and convert contingency into common practice and lasting efficiency; we should carry out standard, orderly work, improve monitoring, intensify early warning and enhance our emergency-handling and medical treatment abilities, so as to achieve the basic prevention and control objective at small social and economic costs. .

Xiao Donglou, deputy director of Disease Prevention and Control Department of the Chinese Ministry of Health, indicated yesterday that China is closely following all external and internal SARS trends and making full preparations against possible rebounds of the epidemic, currently we've got everything ready against the epidemic.

Reports say that in late August, the Chinese Ministry of Health issued the "Nation's Health Departments' Work Plan for the Prevention and Control of Infectious SARS in 2003-2004" and the "Implementing Plan for Monitoring and Reporting the Infectious SARS Epidemic", and currently the said ministry has sent out supervisory teams to Guangdong and Beijing to inspect and supervise implementation of the measures for the prevention and control of SARS.

Xiao Donglou revealed that simulation drills for the prevention of SARS are being carried out in various Chinese localities in accordance with the plan for SARS prevention and control work. He stressed that since the last two SARS patients were discharged from hospital on August 16, no clinical diagnosed case and suspected case of SARS have appeared in China's inland, but so far the zero SARS case reporting system will continue to be in force in various localities of the country.

The theme of the "China Health Forum" sponsored jointly by the International Exchange and Cooperation Center of the Chinese Ministry of Health and the US Johnson Company is "post SARS public health and emergency medical treatment system construction". More than 150 experts from US Disease Prevention and Control Center, the National Health and Medical Science Academy of Japan's Health and Welfare Ministry and Chinese health and medical scientific research departments attended the Forum.

By People's Daily Online

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