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Infectious diseases killed more last year
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-14 06:13

Infectious diseases in 2005 killed almost double the number of the previous year, and authorities warned that the true figure might have been under-reported.

According to the Ministry of Health, contagious diseases killed 13,263 people across the country last year, a jump of 82 per cent from 2004.

HIV/AIDS has become the third deadliest communicable disease in China, even though tuberculosis (TB) still tops the list of the most fatal illnesses.

Rabies, hepatitis B and tetanus in new-born babies are also very dangerous and the five diseases accounted for 89 per cent of the figure that died last year.

More people contracted communicable diseases last year, about 4.4 million, mostly TB, hepatitis B, dysentery and sexually-transmitted diseases.

"The incidence of infectious diseases last year was higher because the reporting system has been strengthened at medical institutes and fewer cases were missed," Mao Qun'an, the ministry's spokesman told China Daily yesterday in a telephone interview.

"The reporting mechanism required by law and the adoption of the Internet for spreading information and other measures meant more cases were discovered," he said.

Under Chinese law, reports on the situation with 27 serious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, anthrax, rabies, TB and hepatitis, should be made public; and since 2004, the ministry has been updating the public monthly on its website.

(China Daily 02/14/2006 page2)

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