Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gaps Remain In China's Ability To Detect Emerging Infectious Diseases Despite Advances Since The Onset of SARS and Avian Flu

China has made many improvements with respect to tracking outbreaks since the SARS outbreak in 2003. At the time, China was not equipped to successfully isolate the virus with effective nationwide surveillance and SARS quickly became a global scare. After the SARS outbreak, the government in China devoted substantial funding for the creation of a public health surveillance infrastructure (from county to national level) and created many centers for disease control and prevention. The centers receive reports on symptoms and diseases from doctors but it is not standard for specimens to be sent in. China also lacks a database (like PulseNet in the US) for identifying particular strains of disease. In order for their program to be able to prevent the spread of disease and provide a plan of action for treatment, pathogen-based surveillance should be implemented.


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