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Doctors punished in China for mishandling deadly virus outbreak: Xinhua

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 6, 2008
Ten doctors and officials in China have been punished for mishandling a virus that has killed 26 children, state media reported as the number of infected youngsters rose to more than 12,000.

The punishments have been meted out in the eastern province of Anhui, where most of the deaths have occurred and local officials have been accused of being too slow to report the disease, Xinhua news agency said late on Monday.

The virus is called enterovirus 71, or EV71, which leads to hand, foot and mouth disease.

EV71 is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact with the mucus, saliva or faeces of an infected person. Young children are most susceptible because of their weaker immune systems. The virus is not related to foot and mouth disease which affects livestock.

As of Tuesday, it had infected 12,164 children nationwide, killing 26 of them, Xinhua reported, citing government figures.

The outbreak caused the Ministry of Health to declare a national alert over the weekend and establish a task force to liaise with local officials on control efforts.

In Anhui, one village doctor was fined 4,080 yuan (583 dollars) for illegally injecting 17 children with immune globulin, falsely claiming it would cure them, according to Xinhua.

The doctor, Wang Dongjun, charged 80 yuan for each injection, while five local county officials have been reprimanded for not distributing information about the virus.

Their failure to tell the people in Lichen village about the nature of the virus allowed Wang to "profiteer" from the disease, Xinhua reported, without saying what happened to the mistreated patients.

A doctor in another village was punished for the same actions as Wang, Xinhua reported, without disclosing what punishment he received.

Two doctors at a hospital in Fuyang city were given demerits for not treating a patient with the virus properly, according to Xinhua, without elaborating on the punishments.

They reportedly simply gave the patient an intravenous drip without doing a proper examination.

Fuyang city is where 22 people have died from EV71.

Sections of China's state-run media have been highly critical of how authorities in Fuyang handled the outbreak, because children first started falling ill in March but the problem was not made public until last week.

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Cholera Study Provides Exciting New Way Of Looking At Infectious Disease
Rome, Italy (SPX) May 06, 2008
Scientists in Italy have discovered a new perspective in the study of infectious disease. Normally, such studies are based upon laboratory work looking at an organism and how it works within the human body. However, in a recent paper published in Environmental Microbiology, Dr Carla Pruzzo, Dr Luigi Vezzulli and Dr Rita R Colwell studied an environmental bacteria and it's interaction with the environment and found that this provided them with vast amounts of information about how the organism causes disease.

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