China's Health Ministry has adopted new regulations to enforce surveillance and reporting of contagious diseases and possible public health threats.
The regulations require that diseases like cholera, the plague, SARS, AIDS, lung anthrax and poliomyelitis should be reported to the relevant departments within two hours of discovery in cities, and six hours in rural areas, according to a circular released by the ministry here Friday.
Diseases including typhoid, dysentery, syphilis, hepatitis B, diphtheria and malaria should be reported within six hours of discovery in cities, and 12 hours in rural areas.
The regulations also require that possible public health threats like mass food poisoning, should be reported to local health authorities within two hours after discovery.
Local health departments should report such incidents to the relevant local governments as well as to the Health Ministry within two hours of discovery, and the ministry should immediately report to the State Council if the incident causes serious social disorder.
The regulation also requires the Health Ministry to publicize promptly emergent public health incidents and epidemic situations.
Disease control and prevention centers at all levels should set up analysis and reporting mechanisms, and local epidemic situations should be analyzed and reported three times each month in normal times and on a daily basis in emergency conditions according to the regulations.
Individuals and medical or health organs will be punished according to relevant laws if they conceal, or delay or falsify reporting on epidemics or emergent public health threats, according to the regulations.