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86 hepatitis C cases in two towns

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

08:21, December 14, 2011

A family member feeds a child infected with hepatitis C virus who is being treated at the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University in Hefei, capital of Anhui province. The child is one of the 86 people who contracted the virus in a suspected case of hospital-caused mass infection. Xinhua

BEIJING - Eighty-six people, including more than 20 children, in two townships have contracted hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a suspected case of hospital-caused mass infection, government investigations have confirmed.

Authorities are looking into the possibility that the source is a family-run clinic in Maqiao township, Yongcheng city, Henan province.

Of those proven infected, 63 were from Maqiao township, and the rest from Dancheng township, Guoyang county, in Anhui province, said Deng Haihua, a Ministry of Health spokesman, at a regular news conference on Tuesday.

"None of them were showing any symptoms, but they have received proper treatment. Further investigation, mainly by health authorities in the two provinces, are ongoing and the final results will be made public when they are ready," he said.

Jia Jidong, who leads the Beijing Friendship Hospital's liver-research center, told China Daily that the actual number of cases might be larger than reported ones, because 30 to 50 percent of those infected could clear their systems of the virus within six months and would test positive only for HCV antibodies.

Zhang Yinping, of Anhui's Guoyang county, said his 2-year-old son, who had previously tested positive for HCV antibody, tested negative during HCV RNA screening on November 30.

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