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Health ministry scotches rumor of meningitis in Qingdao

BEIJING  -- Foreign media reports about an outbreak of Epidemic Cerebrospinal Meningitis (ECM) in Olympic co-host city Qingdao were groundless, a health official said here Friday.

Qingdao, a coastal resort in eastern Shandong Province and the Olympic sailing venue, had reported no ECM cases since the beginning of July, Liang Dongming, deputy director of the emergency response office under the Health Ministry, told a press conference on Friday.

According to the ministry`s investigation, the city`s 657 public health monitoring stations found no ECM cases in July, he said.

"In fact, between January to June, Qingdao saw a decline in ECM case numbers compared with the same period last year," he said.

The city has reported two ECM cases this year, while three were reported during the same period last year.

Some overseas websites carried stories saying Qingdao was experiencing a mysterious epidemic which experts suspected was ECM.

ECM, an acute infectious disease caused by meningococcus, has obvious seasonal variation and usually peaks November to April, an official with the Qingdao health bureau has said.

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

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

Liang said that to ensure a healthy Olympics, all the co-host cities including Hong Kong have beefed up epidemic monitoring work. So far no unusual infectious disease outbreaks have been reported.


Date:2008-7-18 21:28:00     
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