China / Society

Officials warn of epidemic prevention risks in quake zone

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-07 16:07

Officials warn of epidemic prevention risks in quake zone

Soldiers from a chemical defense unit in Chengdu conduct mass disinfection at a resettlement site in Longtoushan town, Ludian county on Wednesday. No outbreaks of disease have so far been reported. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/Asianewsphoto]

BEIJING - Chinese health officials have warned of challenges for epidemic prevention against infectious diseases in Yunnan province following Sunday's deadly earthquake.

Key Points

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake rattled Longtoushan Township, Southwest China's Yunnan province at 4:30 pm Sunday.

At least 589 people dead, 9 missing and 2,401 injured

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Congregations of people in tents and lowered immune systems increase the chances of tuberculosis spreading in clusters, He Qinghua, deputy director for the disease control bureau under the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said at a press conference on Thursday.

Prior to the earthquake, Southwest China's Yunnan province already maintained higher than average incidents of tuberculosis, He said.

He also warned a lack of clean drinking water may increase the chances of catching infectious intestinal diseases.

However, with experience coping with the aftermath of earthquakes in the past, He said he is confident the spread of illness can be controlled. On August 5, the health authority completed an appraisal of the impacted areas and has since taken epidemic prevention measures.

The Commission's figures show that 2,993 people injured in the earthquake have received medical treatment, with 1,269 still hospitalized.

Local hospitals transferred some critically injured survivors to Yibin City in neighboring Sichuan Province on Wednesday.

Sunday's earthquake measured 6.5 on the Richter scale, killing at least 589 people, with nine missing.

Currently, 1,668 military and civilian medical workers are on-site providing medical aid and epidemic prevention.

Officials warn of epidemic prevention risks in quake zone Officials warn of epidemic prevention risks in quake zone

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