Zika con­cerns

Ex­perts warn of the risk that virus could spread in China

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - ByWANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong @chi­nadaily.com.cn

Au­thor­i­ties and ex­perts warned of the risks of the Zika virus spread­ing in China and urged pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures, as the num­ber of cases in South­east Asia in­creases.

Au­thor­i­ties re­spon­si­ble for en­try and exit in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine across China are urged to in­ten­sify mon­i­tor­ing and co­op­er­a­tion in the pre­ven­tion and con­trol of the virus, ac­cord­ing to a warn­ing re­leased onWed­nes­day by the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Qual­ity Su­per­vi­sion, In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine.

Vis­i­tors to coun­tries and re­gions with a Zika out­break should take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures, such as wear­ing long-sleeve clothes and long pants, and should see doc­tors quickly if they are bit­ten by mos­qui­toes and dis­play symp­toms such as fever and rash, it said.

Those who plan to re­turn from such coun­tries should make dec­la­ra­tions to the ex­i­ten­try in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine au­thor­i­ties, it said.

South­east Asian coun­tries such as Sin­ga­pore, In­done­sia and Thai­land, and many South Amer­i­can coun­tries, have re­ported Zika cases, ac­cord­ing to theWorldHealth Or­ga­ni­za­tion. More than 2 bil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in Asia, Africa and the Pa­cific could be at risk, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study pub­lished in The Lancet.

Tests by the Na­tional Pub­lic Health Lab­o­ra­tory in Sin­ga­pore show that the virus that caused the out­break likely evolved from a strain cir­cu­lat­ing in South­east Asia, the WHO’s China of­fice said.

The risks for China will de­pend on im­por­ta­tion of the dis­ease, the pres­ence of a suit­able host and the coun­try’s ca­pac­ity to de­tect and re­spond to its spread, it said.

As the mos­quito is the same type that spreads dengue, the most at-risk ar­eas are in the south­ern part of China, where dengue out­breaks have oc­curred in the past, it said.

“China has made sub­stan­tial progress and will be bet­ter pre­pared, com­pared to a decade ago, to re­spond should an im­ported case oc­cur here,” it said.

“For in­stance, China has taken ac­tive steps to strengthen its sur­veil­lance and lab di­ag­nos­tic ca­pac­ity.”

Some coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, are re­search­ing vac­cines, but drugs are still un­avail­able.

The Zika virus is pri­mar­ily spread through mos­qui­toes, and about 20 per­cent of those in­fected could dis­play symp­toms such as fever, rash or headache. Death may oc­cur in rare cases, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

TANG KE / XIN­HUA

A quar­an­tine of­fi­cer sprays pes­ti­cide to kill mos­qui­toes on a cargo ship that ar­rived in Yan­tai, Shang­dong prov­ince, in Au­gust, from Brazil, where the Zika virus has been de­tected.

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