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77 people struck down by encephalitis B
( 2003-06-29 08:26) (China Daily)

Another 77 residents have been hospitalized in South China's Guangdong Province with the potentially fatal encephalitis B disease in the past five days.

The sudden surge in patients has been met with a renewed pledge from provincial health chiefs to step up efforts to fight the disease that has killed 24 people in Guangdong.

The new encephalitis B cases reported this week brought Guangdong's total number of patients with the disease to 297 by Friday noon, an official from the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Health said on Friday.

The disease appeared in the province in the middle of last month.

One of the new encephalitis B cases is a 21-year-old man, officials said. He is believed to have contracted the disease in Shenzhen.

And the adult encephalitis B patient from outside the city is now in Shenzhen's Donghu Hospital receiving treatment in isolation.

Shenzhen's Donghu Hospital has now been designated as a special hospital to treat encephalitis B patients.

It was the first encephalitis B case to have been reported in the special economic zone.

"The Shenzhen case has also indicated that adults can also be infected with the encephalitis B virus," the official said.

About 90 per cent of Guangdong's current encephalitis B patients are children aged under 11 years old.

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, has detected a total of four patients with dengue fever since April.

All the dengue fever patients are local residents living in the city's Tianhe District.

Two are still in hospital receiving treatment. They are in stable condition.

Guangzhou has detected a total of 10 encephalitis B patients so far.

A special task force has been established to treat patients and prevent the two diseases from spreading in the province which borders the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

The task force mainly comprises senior government officials and senior doctors.

Encephalitis B has been detected in many cities in the province, the official said.

The official also urged local public health departments and hospitals to pay special attention to treating the infectious disease and trying to bring all the encephalitis B patients in the province back to health.

Encephalitis B usually hits its infectious peak in Guangdong between May and July.

The Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Health has helped more than 100,000 children in the whole province become vaccinated against encephalitis B since its outbreak.

In addition to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, encephalitis B has been diagnosed in Zhanjiang, Maoming, Meizhou, Shanwei, Yunfu, Heyuan, Jieyang, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Qingyuan.

The official has urged local residents not to panic as both encephalitis B and dengue fever can be treated and are preventable.

And a campaign to wipe out mosquitoes has been launched in Guangzhou this week, the official said.

Both encephalitis B and dengue fever are mainly passed on by mosquitoes.

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