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Olympic co-host city dismisses rumor of epidemic

QINGDAO, Shandong Province -- Olympic co-host city Qingdao on Thursday shrugged off a rumor of an ongoing epidemic outbreak in the coastal resort, saying it was groundless.

An overseas website recently carried a story saying Qingdao, the sailing venue of the Beijing Olympics in eastern China`s Shandong Province, was experiencing a mysterious epidemic which experts suspected as Epidemic Cerebrospinal Meningitis (ECM), but a local health official said the story was untrue. The ECM, an acute infectious disease caused by meningococcus, had obvious seasonal variation and usually peaked in Winter and Spring, from November to April, the official said.

Its incidence usually began to decline in May and fell to the lowest level in the period from July to October, he said.

"An outbreak in July as claimed in the report is against the natural development rule of the disease," he said.

He said the city reported 9,278 cases of infectious diseases so far this year, a decline of 19.93 percent year on year, and among these cases, only two were ECM, with no such report since July.

The city reported three ECM cases in the same period of last year, he added.

Meanwhile, the city`s 657 public health monitoring stations had found no dramatic increase of high fever cases as of July 16, he said.

There was no "scare" at all among local residents because of the so-called "sharp increases of patients and deaths" as claimed in the website story, the official said.

He also said the city was transparent in epidemic information disclosure.

He promised, however, the city would continue to regularly publicize epidemic information and protect people`s rights to know

Date:2008-7-18 9:58:00     
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