AIDS now third most deadly disease in China
Updated: 2006-02-14 08:40
AIDS overtook hepatitis B to
become China's third-deadliest infectious disease last year, the Ministry of
Health reported yesterday.
Tuberculosis was the country's No. 1 infectious killer in 2005, followed by
rabies, the ministry said.
A total of 4.42 million cases of infectious diseases were reported and 13,263
people died last year, an increase of 12.7 percent and 81.92 percent from 2004
Tuberculosis, hepatitis B, dysentery, gonorrhea and syphilis were the top
five most common infectious diseases, accounting for 85.66 percent of the total
cases, the ministry said.
Tuberculosis, rabies, AIDS, hepatitis B and tetanus in newborns were the top
five killers - 89.4 percent of the total.
The Ministry of Health has issued a plan to ensure that newborns and other
vulnerable groups stay away from hepatitis B in the next five years.
According to the 2006-2010 national hepatitis B prevention and control plan,
the positive rate of all Chinese will be reduced to less than 7 percent and that
of children under five years old one percent by 2010.
Vaccinating children is highlighted by the plan as a major strategy to fight
hepatitis B. It is expected that the vaccination rate of newborns will reach
beyond 90 percent by 2010. About 95 percent of children born after 2002 who have
not been injected will be immunized.
China has not officially released statistics on the numbers of hepatitis B
patients and virus carriers, but according to estimates by experts cited by the
health ministry, there are 20 million chronic hepatitis B patients.
Liu Shijin, member of the China Association of Integrative Medicine,
estimated that China has 130 million hepatitis B virus carriers, meaning one out
of 10 people is infected.
The plan will set up sound systems to monitor hepatitis B prevalence, the
vaccination rate of newborns and infections in high-risk groups.
It also requires all medical institutions to eliminate spread of the virus by
blood transmission, which together with sexual intercourse and mother-to-child
transmission are the three major channels to transmit the virus.
In January alone, 493 people died of 27 infectious diseases in the mainland,
with tuberculosis, rabies and hepatitis B as the top killers.
The health ministry admitted that China's hepatitis B prevention and control
efforts "fall far short."