Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2019 12:46:21 +0100

Beijing, Feb 13, 2019 (AFP) - Dozens of tourists celebrating the lunar new year at an upmarket ski resort in north-eastern China have been struck down by novovirus, the winter vomiting bug, the tour operator admitted.    French luxury holiday group Club Med expressed its regret, saying it took the outbreak -- which saw guests suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea -- "very seriously".   "We plan to offer all customers who have been affected by the virus compensation equivalent to three times the price they spent," Club Med said in a statement.

The company has said 42 people reported abnormal symptoms, eight of whom were seen by a doctor, although none required hospital treatment.    However, the China Daily newspaper quoted tourists on Wednesday as saying "more than 200" people had been affected, and there were accusations on Chinese social media the company had underestimated the number of people involved.

The hotel at the Yabuli ski resort in Heilongjiang province is being disinfected, according to the company, but the origin of the infection has not yet been identified.    Chinese conglomerate Fosun bought Club Med in 2015 for more than $1 billion.   China is now Club Med's biggest market outside France, with six resorts in operation and four others planned to open by the end 2020.   Fosun Group is one of China's "grey rhino" companies -- along with Wanda, HNA and Anbang -- that have come under scrutiny from mainland authorities wanting to crack down on debt-fuelled foreign acquisitions.
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:00:40 +0100

Shanghai, Jan 11, 2019 (AFP) - At least 145 children were administered expired polio vaccines in eastern China, state media reported, despite the government promising to prevent such lapses in the industry following a major scandal last year.   Thirteen county-level health officials in Jiangsu province have been dismissed since the case came to light earlier this week -- the latest to raise public health concerns -- Jinhu county government said late Friday according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Three other county-level health officials are under investigation and a case has been established against a local official, the broadcaster said.   A parent discovered earlier this week that a batch of orally administered polio vaccines were being given to children at a county-run health facility nearly one month after their December 11 expiration date, CCTV reported on Thursday.   The local government has since found 145 children received the vaccines between December 11 and January 7, CCTV said, quoting a government source.

Local health officials have said the expired vaccines would have decreased efficacy but should not cause adverse health effects.   The World Health Organization's website says that people given such vaccines that have expired are "unlikely to get sick as a reaction to receiving the vaccine" but warns that they might not be adequately immunised.

CCTV said some parents reported adverse reactions among children, including vomiting and drowsiness, but it was unclear if this was just a normal allergic reaction to the medicine.   Beijing announced a nationwide clean-up of the country's vaccine industry last year after it emerged that a major Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines had fabricated records. 

Authorities maintain that affected rabies vaccines did not enter the market, but the case triggered public outrage over frequent safety scares involving sub-par or toxic food, drugs and other products despite repeated government crackdowns.   The vaccines have been ordered sealed and the county has launched inspections of all health-related departments.   The polio vaccine is provided free by the government for children between two months and four years old.   AFP calls to the Jinhu government went unanswered.
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2018 06:12:17 +0100

Beijing, Nov 23, 2018 (AFP) - China's agriculture ministry on Friday confirmed the first cases of African swine fever in Beijing, a disease that has spread across the country despite efforts to contain it.   The disease was found on two farms in the Fangshan District in southwest Beijing where 86 out of more than 1,700 pigs died, the ministry said in a statement.    A special task force has since sealed off the farms for culling and disinfection while live pigs and pork products are barred from leaving the area.

Separately, senior ministry officials said during a briefing that 600,000 pigs have been culled since African swine fever was first detected in August in the world's biggest consumer and producer of pork.   It surfaced in northeastern Liaoning province but has now spread to 20 provinces with 73 cases reported.    "As you can see right now, the situation... is still very severe," said deputy director of the bureau of husbandry and veterinary medicine Feng Zhongwu.    "China has frequent trade with affected countries with a huge amount of goods exchanged. Coupled with the long incubation period of the disease and the difficulty of detection, there is a high risk of the disease getting reintroduced."    The ministry has also blamed the spread on backward farming methods, a lack of hygiene and the need to transport pigs long distances for sale.

In early September, government-controlled media said African swine fever had been discovered in just five provinces, with the agriculture ministry saying that the situation was "generally under control".    But it has steadily moved south into pork-producing districts despite efforts to contain it, including culling over half a million livestock and banning the transport of live pigs in affected areas.   Swine fever has already caused a spike in pork prices in China and fuelled growing fears of a major impact on the world's largest pig producer.   The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned in August that the disease could spread to other parts of Asia.   African swine fever is not harmful to humans but causes deadly haemorrhagic fever in domesticated pigs and wild boar.   With no antidote or vaccine, the only known control method is to cull animals.
Date: Fri 23 Nov 2018
Source: Outbreak News Today[edited]
<http://outbreaknewstoday.com/h5n6-avian-influenza-chinese-girl-hospitalized-serious-condition-65125/>

The Chinese National Health Commission reported on an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Jiangsu. This brings the total cases to 23 in China since 2014.

The case involved a 10-year-old girl from Suzhou in Jiangsu. She developed symptoms on [29 Oct 2018] and was hospitalized on [3 Nov 2018]. She is now in a serious condition. Avian influenza is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks.

Clinical presentation of avian influenza in humans includes eye infection (conjunctivitis), flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) or severe respiratory illness (such as chest infection). The incubation period ranges from 7 to 10 days.

The more virulent forms can result in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure, and even death. People mainly become infected with avian influenza virus through contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead) or their droppings, or contact with contaminated environments (such as wet markets and live poultry markets). Human-to-human transmission is inefficient.

People in close contact with poultry are more susceptible to contracting avian influenza. The elderly, children, and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection.
=====================
[H5N6 avian influenza viruses (AIV) have posed a potential threat to public health since emergence in China in 2013. The H5N6 reassortant viruses had been detected in poultry/avian populations in most provinces of southern China and neighbouring countries. Considering the mammalian adaption mutations and antigenic variation detected, t e
spread of these viruses should be monitored carefully due to their pandemic potential. - ProMED Mod.UBA]

[Maps of China: <http://www.sacu.org/maps/provmap.png> and
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/29996>]
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:21:07 +0100

Beijing, Nov 16, 2018 (AFP) - The Ritz-Cartlon and other five-star hotels in China apologised after a video exposing unhygienic cleaning practises went viral online this week in the latest health and safety scandal to rock the country.   Despite their luxury standards and high price tags, cleaning staff were shown wiping down in-room cups with the same towels and sponges used to clean showers and toilets.   Since the video was posted to Twitter-like Weibo on Wednesday, it has racked up more than 30 million views.

The video clip was apparently shot by hidden cameras set up in hotel bathrooms and titled "The Secret of the Cups". The video creator, who goes by the pseudonym "Huazong", claims he has stayed at 147 five-star and boutique hotels over the past six years.   The outcry also attracted the attention of regulators, who promised an investigation. It follows a scandal this summer that rocked the country when a manufacturer of rabies vaccines was found to have produced sub-standard vaccines.   The Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai said it carried out an investigation after the video exposed one of its cleaners, who had been found using the same towel to clean the shower glass, floor, counter and cups.

The cleaner had received training on proper room cleaning, the hotel said.   "But the actual practises on that day did not follow the cleaning standards for room cleaning, we are deeply sorry for this," the hotel apologised in a statement posted to its Weibo account, adding staff would be retrained.   A cleaning woman at the Four Seasons in Shanghai was shown using the same sponge to clean the shower, counter and cups.   "We sincerely apologise for what has occurred and we are currently investigating this matter with the highest diligence," said hotel spokeswoman Chloe Qian.   Other hotels highlighted in the expose included The Peninsula in Beijing, the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, and the Sheraton Nanchang Hotel.   China is regularly hit by scandals involving sub-par or toxic food, drugs and other products, despite repeated promises by the ruling Communist Party to address the problem.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism ordered an investigation into the hotels, state news agency Xinhua reported Friday.   In Beijing, regulators summoned managers from the four hotels demanding answers while conducting their own tests of hotel cleanliness, Xinhua reported.   On Weibo, users lambasted the hotels and the recurrent health and safety problems.   "On the level of hygiene and morals, China's best hotels compare unfavourably to a small Japanese inn," mocked one user.
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