Officials take action after reports of tick infections

08:43, June 15, 2011      

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After residents of Changping district reported tick bites, health officials confirmed there was a danger to public health. (Provided to China Daily)

The disease control center in suburban Changping district on Tuesday started all-round disinfections in a community where a resident and some pets were suspected of being bitten by ticks last week.

The woman, surnamed Li, who lives in Longzeyuan community of Changping district, said she was stung by a bug on her right shoulder several days ago and then felt an itch and had small blood spots all over her body, which made her suspect it was a tick.

Another case involved a resident's dog, which had been bitten by insects three times since May 29. The man, surnamed Lu, said his dog's ears were filled with blood clots and the medical certificate from the epidemic prevention station in the community showed this was caused by a tick infection.

An official surnamed Han, who works with the neighborhood committee in the community, confirmed the suspected cases of an infection from tick bites in the area, saying the committee is cooperating with the disease control center of Changping district to spray pesticide in the area.

"The committee paid a lot of attention to this after a few residents suspected a tick infection," Han told China Daily on Tuesday. "Meanwhile, we took the injured woman to a nearby hospital at once and now she is well."

The control center has begun to thoroughly disinfect trees and grass in the community. The sterilizing will continue until June 17, according to Han.

"The disinfection effect needs a period of time to become evident, and we will take further measures after that," he said, adding that residents should keep off areas that have insecticide sprayed on them and walk their pets away from the grass.

As the disinfecting process began, some residents expressed concern about the ticks and hoped the relevant departments could control them as soon as possible.

"I am afraid of this kind of small insect and will stay away from the grass, because both the ticks and the pesticides are dangerous to health," said Cui Xiaoyu, a 23-year-old woman living in the area.

Chen Xifan, a public relations manager with a company in the community, said he hoped the committee could spray pesticides regularly in summer instead of taking measures after cases have been discovered.

A similar case was first reported in May 2007 in Central China's Henan province, where 18 of 557 cases of suspected human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) had proved fatal by Sept 8, 2010.

The tick is usually spotted in fields, while the disease reduces white blood cell and platelet counts, which can lead to organ failure and death, according to a guideline issued by the Ministry of Health in 2008.

The ministry said people in close contact with patients can also be infected if no precautions are taken, but the disease is curable with early detection and treatment.

A doctor surnamed Wu, who works in Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, suggested residents wear long pants outdoors and avoid staying in the grass for a long time in summer.

"Besides, people should visit a hospital if they have any skin problems," she added.

However, Liu Yu, director of the office at the Beijing Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, said it had not yet received any reports of cases of tick infection from hospitals in the city.

Source: China Daily
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