Despite advances made since the emergence of SARS and avian flu, last week.
The comment appeared in an article in the journal Health Affairs written jointly by Dr. Zijian Feng, director of emergency response at China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and two of his American C.D.C. counterparts.
China’s public health system, created in the 1950s on a Soviet model to detect plague, rabies, cholera and polio, was understaffed and slow to react when SARS struck in 2003. Since then, billions have been spent, especially on laboratories.
Reporting of 27 suspected diseases through an online network is now mandatory. The country’s 20,000 hospitals are then supposed to forward specimens to regional labs for confirmation, but the number received “is not very high,” the report said, and hospitals often demand payment.
Also, medical schools historically have not trained doctors to collect blood and spinal fluid for reporting; fewer than 50 hospital labs are accredited to international standards; and grandparents often resist the testing of children, so doctors often “treat first and diagnose later, if at all.”
The system has some ability to track cholera and flu, but it is particularly weak at “fingerprinting” antibiotic-resistant bacteria and linking hospital data. For example, the report said, “if a food product contaminated with intestinal bacteria were imported into China, there would be no way to reliably ascertain the number of people who became sick after eating it.”
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
China’s ability to detect new disease outbreaks remains “underdeveloped,” leading Chinese health official acknowledges
The NY Times:
Posted by BA Haller at 9:41 PM